Video: Ram-raiders wreck post office backing into window

Thieves used a suspected stolen car to ram-raid a city post office in the fourth robbery to hit the store in less than a decade.

Thursday, 9th April 2015, 3:04 pm
damage: Above, Mahmood Hassans shop was smashed up. Picture: Toby Williams

The owner of Blackford Post Office says the incident has left him with between £15,000 and £20,000 of damage.

Up to eight men are suspected of being involved in the raid, which took place at the Blackford Avenue shop at around 3.20am yesterday morning.

CCTV footage shows the 4x4 – believed to be a stolen black Range Rover – driving past the premises and braking, before reversing at speed four times into the shutters. The vehicle forced the shutters through the window, crashing into a glass display refrigerator full of stock.

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The destroyed shutters. Picture: Toby Williams

Several hooded men ran into the shop and grabbed cigarettes and scratchcards before smashing the till off the counter until the drawer broke off.

Owner Mahmood Hassan, whose shop has been targeted in an attempted ram-raid and two other break-ins since 2006, said he was “gutted”.

He said officers told him that the vehicle was stolen, although Police Scotland could not confirm that claim.

Officers are still trying to trace the 4x4 involved in the raid, which lasted several minutes.

As Mr Hassan surveyed the damage and started clearing up the ruined stock strewn across the floor, he said it was a “matter of guesswork” as to how much cash had been stolen. The till contained a £150 float and the profits from the last three days. It also held takings for products which would have usually been taken at the Post Office counter, which had been closed over the Easter weekend.

Cigarettes worth between £500 and £600 and stamps were also stolen from the front counter.

Mr Hassan said: “We have got some CCTV footage – there are seven or eight people crammed into the Range Rover. They came out one by one. I don’t know where to start with cleaning this up.”

He added: “The damage and inconvenience is the worst thing. I am gutted. We have sustained four robberies since coming here. Two have been ram-raided, two have been break-ins through the roof.”

Mr Hassan has contacted all four councillors in the Southside-Newington area, calling for urgent help to prevent another incident.

Local Tory councillor Cameron Rose, a former police officer, said: “We’re very concerned about the increase in crime, particularly in the north of the city but continually in the Grange-Blackford area as well. It’s just demoralising for somebody trying to provide a service to the public.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Police are appealing for witnesses following a break-in to the post office on Blackford Avenue around 3.20am this morning where a black 4x4 was used to enter the premises.”

The incident at Blackford Avenue comes after a series of ram-raiding attacks on business premises in Musselburgh on March 18 and 91.

Last week, police revealed bolstered plans to target a spike in housebreaking involving 
stolen cars in the Capital.