GRIMETHORPE Post Office has reopened following a nine-week closure after five masked robbers blew its cash machine out of the wall in a terrifying night-time raid.

Police said a ‘large amount’ of money was stolen during the incident, which happened at about 1.40am on May 1, but a decision was taken for the High Street building to close because its structure was weakened as a result of the blast.

Postmistress Stella Milner and her husband, David, have run the shop for 30 years in August and were woken by a tapping sound they heard - a noise Stella thought was someone waiting for cash.

“It’s not an uncommon noise as the cash machine had a metal surround,” Stella told the Chronicle. “I’d regularly hear people tapping while they waited but as soon as David got out of bed there was an explosion.

“Literally as soon as he stood up there was a bang. The first feeling was of absolute shock.

In Text Promo Image

“It was horrendous, so traumatic and devastating for us, not only because it’s the first incident we’ve had in almost 30 years but also as it’s our livelihood.

“It quickly became clear we had no choice but to close the shop because it severely damaged the structure.

“This wasn’t a random attack - they knew what they were doing and they’d obviously done things like this before because they came fully equipped. I don’t believe it was someone local as that’s unimaginable.

“In the following days we heard that there had been several others, including a Post Office in Huddersfield, which is still closed.”

The shop’s CCTV picked up five masked men and a vehicle, which was subsequently found to be wearing false registration plates, although no arrests have been made in connection with the raid. Repairs began immediately on the building, which involved a complete refurbishment to the shop and structural work, resulting in it being closed for a total of nine weeks.

“We’ve had workers here constantly throughout that period but everyone’s been great,” Stella added.

“It’s been a real effort to get it reopened but the public’s support has been a great help - we’ve had so many messages from locals wishing us well.

“The minority in this village always seem to get a bad reputation but Grimethorpe’s a place full of people who would do anything for anyone. This incident has shown exactly that and we can’t thank them enough.”

Call police on 101, quoting incident 45 of May 1, if you have any information about the raid.