A postmaster who was attacked by shotgun-wielding thugs said he still gets flashbacks of the robbery.
Tony Williams gave chase after his Boston Spa Post Office was targeted by two armed raiders who threatened staff and customers while disguised in wigs, hats and women’s clothing, with one being pushed in a wheelchair.
The efforts of the postmaster and several bystanders helped detectives with the identification of the robbers, who were jailed earlier this year, and their bravery will be recognised at a West Yorkshire Police ceremony this evening.
Mr Williams said: “I knew something was about to happen when they came in so I hit the panic button. Then he turned around with a shotgun.”
Martin Pick, who was sitting in the wheelchair as he entered the shop, pulled the shotgun from underneath a blanket, leapt up to the counter and shouted: “Give us your money, where’s the money, where’s the money?”
Pick and his son, Declan, who was pushing the wheelchair, took cash from the tills but became frustrated when Mr Williams told them there was no further money in the safe.
Declan Pick produced an air pistol handgun, pointed it at Mr Williams and pulled the trigger, but no missile appeared to be fired.
Mr Williams said: “I just felt outrage at the cheek of him thinking he could shoot me. It didn’t go off and then he started getting panicky. I think it was the adrenaline that made me chase them.”
When the robbers fled the shop Mr Williams followed but was hit in the head with a crowbar in the scuffle that ensued.
Several members of the public came to his aid during the chase, including a man who pulled the wig from one of the robbers, which was used as part of the identification process and a woman who came to Mr Williams’ aid when he was attacked.
After one of the robbers was pulled to the floor and detained by bystanders, Martin Pick’s brother Mark got out of a Nissan Juke getaway car and fired a double-barrelled shotgun-type weapon into the air. Following the robbery, Mr Williams had doubts about carrying on with the business and put the Post Office up for sale but has recently taken it off the market.
“Sometimes, even two years on I get flashbacks but I’m trying to get over it and get on with my life.
“I’d like to say thank you to the people who helped me that day. The police were absolutely excellent and I can’t thank them enough for all the support.”
Chief Superintendent Paul Money, Leeds District Commander, said: “The robbery at Boston Spa post office was a terrifying incident for all involved and the courage of postmaster Tony Williams and those brave members of the public who intervened cannot be overstated. Here were hardened criminals armed with guns desperate to get away from the scene of the robbery. When most people would have understandably run for cover, these public-spirited citizens reacted in the opposite way, determined not to let them get away with robbing their local post office.”