Shropshire village postmaster reveals he may quit after being tied up in terrifying robbery

A postmaster who was tied up and robbed by raiders while working in a village hall today revealed he is likely to shut up shop.

postmaster
Postmaster Stephen Bentley was tied up during a robbery in High Ercall

Stephen Bentley was threatened by masked men who tied him to a chair with cable ties, stole £2,000 and drove off in his Jaguar after taking his keys.

The 61-year-old was unharmed physically but, speaking for the first time since his ordeal, he today said he thinks the risks are probably too high to reopen.

That would leave the village of High Ercall, near Shawbury, without a service that many rely on.

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The village hall in High Ercall where the robbery took place

Mr Bentley, from Water’s Upton, said: “The likelihood is this service is going to be withdrawn. The gain I get out of this as opposed to the risks involved, I have to consider whether it’s worth it or not.”

Mr Bentley also revealed how he struggled to free himself before raising the alarm following the robbery, which happened at about 11.30am on Wednesday.

Mr Bentley, who also runs Waters Upton Village Store with his partner Katrina Baker, said: “I had just served someone and she left. Two men burst in wearing what appeared to be dark-coloured boiler suits. Their faces were covered with scarves.

“One guy had a pick axe handle. He was banging it around. They tied my hands and demanded to see the money. I showed them the cash box. They demanded to know about phones. I didn’t have any phone other than a landline and it wasn’t plugged in.

“They searched me and took my car keys. After they had gone I waited a few minutes and then managed to get one of my hands free. I walked with the chair to the kitchen so I could cut the tie off my other hand.

“The entire incident didn’t last more than five minutes. They smashed up the post office equipment before they left.”

He said when he went outside he noticed his Jaguar car missing and began walking in the direction of homes of people he knew.

Mr Bentley added: “The two men didn’t appear to be youngsters, I would say they were between 30 and 40, between 6ft and 6ft 3in tall. They didn’t speak with a distinctive accent. In my view, they were local.”

The thieves made off with his till containing abut £2,000, a phone and the keys to his car. The Jaguar was later found abandoned near the Cleveland Arms in High Ercall.

Mr Bentley, aged 61, from Waters Upton, said: “Police now have my car for forensics.

“If there is anyone who has any knowledge about what happened, however insignificant, they need to contact the police.”

Mr Bentley has run the twice-a-week outreach service since the village’s full- time service closed.

He has been offering post office services twice a week but now says he is likely to step down.

Anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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