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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Woman shot as post office raiders flee empty-handed

A woman looks out through glass shattered by a shotgun blast during the post office
hold-up in Walkinstown in south Dublin
A woman looks out through glass shattered by a shotgun blast during the post office hold-up in Walkinstown in south Dublin

Tom Brady and Allison Bray

A WOMAN was discharged from hospital last night after she was struck in the face by shotgun pellets during an armed hold-up at a post office in south Dublin.

It was the second raid in a week on the post office at Bunting Road in Walkinstown.

And yesterday's hold-up was the capital's second violent armed robbery within an hour after raiders got away with an estimated €70,000 from a supermarket.

Gardai believe that one gang was probably responsible for the two post office robberies. Searches were carried out throughout the day and again last night in the Crumlin and Kevin Street garda districts.

Last Friday raiders made off with €13,000 from the post office.

In yesterday's incident, two masked men, armed with a shotgun and a knife, burst into the premises at 9.30am when there were several customers there.

The gunman held his weapon to the head of a male customer, threatened the staff and demanded cash.

The other raider, using the hammer, then attempted to smash the glass panel separating customers from staff, but failed.

In frustration, the gunman fired a blast from the shotgun and a female employee, who was standing directly behind it, was hit in the face by pellets.

The raiders then panicked and fled empty handed across the road into a maze of laneways where gardai believe an accomplice could have been waiting with a getaway car.

Fearful

Last night officers said they were working on the basis that the two raids were probably linked and they were following a number of lines of inquiry in the south city.

Detectives took statements from staff and customers in the post office and examined CCTV footage from nearby cameras.

The attempted raid at the post office -- which serves hundreds of elderly people collecting their pensions every Friday -- has left local residents angry and fearful.

Marian Greene, (49), who lives in a nearby housing estate, said she wasn't surprised when she saw a sign on the window that read, "closed due to armed robbery" when she went to collect her widow's pension.

Brian McGann, general secretary of the Irish Postmasters' Union, who went to the scene yesterday, said private security guards were not the answer.

"If they were standing there this morning, they would have been shot," he said.

"It's not just post office workers that are at risk -- it's everybody who is at increased risk. Anybody who works in any retail premises is at an increased risk as these criminals are going out to try to get money to fund their illegal activities," he warned.

Meanwhile, another gang made off with an estimated €70,000 when they forced their way into the cash office at the Lidl supermarket in Thomas Street while a cash-in-transit van was collecting money at around 8.20am.

Two masked men, armed with a knife and what was described as a realistic looking sawn-off shotgun but which turned out out to be an imitation, held up the security guard after he had deposited one bag of cash.

They bundled him into the supermarket's cash office and then grabbed a number of other bags, thought to have contained about €70,000.

The two raiders then ran down the street and got into a silver car, possibly a Honda, before making off in the direction of Bridge Street.

In the meantime, the security guard had pressed the panic buttons on the cash-in-transit van and gardai quickly arrived on the scene.

The guard was uninjured but was shaken by his ordeal.

Irish Independent

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