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Eder Ruiz, formerly of Otley, denies robbing Burley-in-Wharfedale Post Office

16 Aug 2016, 17:08 ... from_tape/?

A ROBBER armed himself with a water pistol to hold up a village post office at gunpoint and make off with £1,800, a jury at Bradford Crown Court heard.

Eder Ruiz, 25, disguised himself with a “bizarre” moustache and beard fashioned from black electrical tape and wore a wig and joke horror teeth, it is alleged.

Ruiz, formerly of Queen’s Court, Station Road, Otley, denies robbing John and Patricia Garforth at Burley-in-Wharfedale Post Office at 9.20am on May 19 last year.

He also pleads not guilty to having an imitation firearm, namely a water pistol designed to look like a gun, at the time of committing the offence.

Prosecutor Anthony Moore said yesterday that Mr and Mrs Garforth had been running the post office for 26 years at the time of the robbery.

A man carrying a brown box came in, shuffled along and collapsed on the floor.

When Mrs Garforth came from behind the secure area to help him, he got up and pushed her backwards.

She and her husband attempted to bundle him out but he turned and pointed what appeared to be a handgun at them, demanding: “Open the safe. Open the safe.”

When he was told it was on a time-lock, he snatched £1,800 from the till and ran off.

The couple described the robber as in his mid-20s, of slight build and wearing gloves.

They said a piece of black tape from his disguise fell off his face during the incident.

Mr Moore said skin flakes from the recovered tape did not match the defendant but his fingerprints were found on an old newspaper the Crown says he dropped during the raid.

Mobile phone evidence put Ruiz in Burley-in-Wharfedale an hour before the robbery, it is alleged.

Ruiz, now living in Manchester, was arrested in a routine vehicle check and denied any involvement in the offence.

He could not explain his fingerprint on the newspaper.

Mr Moore told the jury they would probably have no doubt that a robbery took place that morning, it was just a question of whether Ruiz was involved in it.

The trial continues.

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