Bravery of Biggin Hill post office worker who was beaten with 'handgun' is hailed by police for stopping robbery
PUBLISHED: 09:56 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:04 06 September 2017
Two men have been jailed following the incident last year
A post office worker who was hit around the face with an imitation handgun during an attempted armed robbery has been hailed for her bravery.
The worker, who has not been identified, has opened the McColl’s store in Biggin Hill at 5.15am on September 9 last year, when, an hour later, two men wearing balaclavas stormed in.
The duo demanded the keys to the post office’s safe, but were told she didn’t have them.
One of the men then hit her across the right side of her face with his weapon.
Undeterred, the member of staff told them she had pressed her panic alarm and police were on the way.
Both men then fled the scene empty handed.
She was then taken to hospital after suffering heavy bruising to the right side of her face.
Meanwhile detectives from Met Police’s Flying Squad used CCTV evidence and mobile phone data to identify two suspects, Christopher Heath, 35 of New Addington and Anthony Patton, 31 of no-fixed-address.
On September 19, 10 days after the failed raid, police found a black, fake Glock style handgun with a round of ammunition.
Analysis revealed it was the same gun used in the attempted robbery.
Officers found balaclavas and a pair of gloves linked to Heath and Patton that same day at another address.
Heath was arrested on September 9 and after a number of police raids to find him, Patton handed himself in on November 1.
In March, Heath admitted to attempted robbery and having an imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence.
Patton was found guilty of the same charges after a trial in July, and on Monday, September 4, both men were sentenced.
Heath was jailed for eight years’ while Patton was jailed for five years, on top of a 10-year sentence he was given in April for burglary, car theft and robbery offences.
Det const Dan Beek, of the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the bravery of the post office employee who alerted police to this crime by pressing her panic alarm.
“She was threatened and assaulted by Heath and Patton but, as a result of her courage, they left empty-handed.
“The Flying Squad acted quickly to identify these two men and arrest them. The significant custodial sentences reflect the seriousness of using a imitation firearm with an intention to commit a robbery.”