Masked raiders jailed for five years for robbing a Fenland postmistress by gunpoint

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Two masked men who travelled from London to rob a Fenland post mistress by gunpoint were today (Fri) each jailed for five years.

Sam Holmes, 22, and David Leadbeater, 23, targeted the village store in Tydd Gote, near Sutton Bridge, after driving more than two hours from their homes in the south of England.

The sister of one of the men lived a few miles from the store and helped the pair by calling the shop the day before to check post office opening times.

Jane Wright, sub post mistress for 23 years, fought back after the pair brandished what appeared to be guns, a court was told.

She was kicked in the shins when she refused to help and they fled with just £670 from the till after she refused to give them the full code for the safe.

A jury at Lincoln Crown Court heard the robbers were helped by Leadbeater’s sister, Sasha Cracknell, 22, of Allenby’s Chase, near Sutton Bridge, who called the store the day before the robbery.

Cracknell, a mother-of-two, who also admitted growing cannabis in the spare bedroom of her home, was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

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The trio denied a charge of robbery following the raid on June 21 last year but were all found guilty after a two week trial.

Mrs Wright described seeing two men wearing balaclavas getting out of a car at the front of shop just before 9am.

One of the men had a grey handgun while the other had a two metre long gun with a wooden butt.

Mrs Wright swore at them when they entered the store and shouted at her to open up the post office.

She was pushed to the floor and kicked in the ankles but refused to reveal the full code for the safe, leaving the intruders to flee with only the day’s float.

The court heard Holmes, of Eltham, in South-East London and Leadbeater of no fixed address but originally from Plumstead, were already serving six year prison sentences for car crimes in Kent.

Passing sentence Judge Sean Morris told them they had reduced Mrs Wright to: “The most brutal robbery.”

“You brought up murderous looking weapons and brandished them,” he said.

Judge Morris awarded Mrs Wright £500 for her bravery.