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Saturday 3 December 2016

Village postmistress targeted by hammer-wielding raiders

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

Published 23/04/2011 | 05:00

A garda removes a sledgehammer and crowbar from the home of the postmistress
near Prosperous, Co Kildare. Photo: Collins
A garda removes a sledgehammer and crowbar from the home of the postmistress near Prosperous, Co Kildare. Photo: Collins
Prosperous Post Office. Photo: Collins

A POSTMISTRESS was targeted by a gang wielding sledgehammers for a second time in 10 months while they locked up her mother and sister in a 90-minute ordeal.

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The four masked thugs eventually fled Prosperous, Co Kildare, empty handed after they failed to access cash from the local post office.

Ann Ennis (50), her elderly mother Peg (75), and sister Caroline (45), were subjected to a frightening ordeal after men broke into their rural cottage in Ballinafagh early yesterday.

Postmistress Ann raised the alarm after the men who had abducted her from her home took her back to her house when they failed to break open the safe in Prosperous post office.

None of the women were injured in the attack; however, they were said to be "traumatised" by the incident.

It is believed all three were asleep when the gang broke down a door to their cottage on the outskirts of the village.

The men, who were wearing balaclavas, used iron bars and sledgehammers to frighten the family before locking Peg and Caroline in a room.

They ordered the postmistress to accompany them to the nearby post office.

Clues

It is understood a security system in the post office, which only allows the safe to open at certain times of the day worked, and the raiders were forced to give up.

Yesterday, garda forensics combed the field behind the family's cottage looking for clues. Detectives are not yet following a definite line of enquiry.

Prosperous Post Office has been targeted before. Last June, a small sum of money was taken after raiders armed with a sledgehammer and a knife went into the premises and demanded cash. Nobody was injured on that occasion.

Prosperous residents said that they had noticed a rise in thefts in recent months.

Loyola Ryan said when her youngest son was making his confirmation a fortnight ago, the priest warned parents to go outside and remove any valuables from their vehicles as the church car park was being targeted by thieves.

"It is unbelievable what is going on in a quiet village," she said.

Ann Ennis has worked in the post office for almost 30 years.

A relative of the Ennis family said they were "shocked" by the incident.

Anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the Ballinafagh or Prosperous areas between 1am and 2.30am is asked to contact gardai in Naas on 045 884300 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

Irish Independent

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