Eastbourne post office raid sees woman flee burning building

Hampden Park post office in Rosebery Avenue, Eastbourne The postmistress fled the burning building and raised the alarm

An armed robber dressed as a postman tied up a postmistress at gunpoint and set fire to the building before fleeing.

The distraught 49-year-old woman managed to escape from the burning post office in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

But the robber made off with cash from the safe and the Rosebery Avenue post office was badly damaged by smoke.

The woman, who is not being named, was taken to hospital and was unharmed but extremely distressed, police said.

'Distressing' ordeal

The man, who was aged about 30, entered the post office at 08:30 BST wearing a postman's uniform.

Police said he produced a gun and threatened the postmistress before grabbing money from the safe.

Before leaving, he was believed to have tied up the woman and set light to the building.

Det Insp Gavin Patch, of Sussex CID, said: "This was a distressing ordeal for the victim."

The woman was treated for shock at Eastbourne District General Hospital.

Royal Mail fleece

Police spoke to witnesses at the scene but are appealing for more information.

"This is a busy area, and we are appealing for anyone who may have seen this man, who was dressed in a uniform, go into the post office or leave it to come forward," said Det Insp Patch.

Firefighters dealt with the fire, which caused substantial smoke damage to the building, on the corner of Rosebery Avenue and Brassey Avenue.

The suspect, who was about 6ft 2in and wearing a black beanie-style hat and red Royal Mail fleece, is thought to have run towards the railway line.

He had a silver bar-style earring in the top of his left ear.

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