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Staff detain man armed with axe and firearm demanding cash at a Colchester Post Office

07 Nov 2016, 20:42 ... _1_4765580?

Brave Post Office workers pinned down an axe-wielding robber until police arrived during a raid this morning.

Sailesh Patel was working alone in the Shrub End store when a man entered and asked him to leave the Post Office counter to get some cigarettes.

As Mr Patel, 61, came out the man demanded cash and told the staff member he had a gun and an axe.

The suspect pushed Mr Patel into the back area and tried to follow him in, but was himself grabbed by Mr Patel’s wife, Bina, who had heard the commotion.

Mrs Patel, 60, then pulled the man back by his hoody and the hero couple tried to push him down to the floor

And when the would-be robber tried to run out of the shop, the couple grabbed him and again grappled with him.

Not having the time to call the police themselves, a passer-by rang 999 and a neighbour came to help detain the man until officers arrived – around five minutes after the call.

Mrs Patel said: “I knew the gun was not real, but the axe was.

“It was surprising, people were watching from windows but did not come and help.

“I’m OK, but I have quite a few bruises.

“I was just worried about my husband, and wanted to distract the robber. I would not let him move from the ground.”

Mr Patel added: “He was quite strong. He said ‘I have got a gun and I will shoot you’.

“When he tried to leave we just grappled with him, and pinned him down outside.

“Some people would have just said to let him go, but we didn’t. We didn’t think about it we just did it.”

Mr Patel said the axe was about a foot in length.

Undeterred by the incident, the couple continued serving customers in the afternoon once the police cordon was lifted from the Shrub End Road premises.

The incident happened at around 9.25am.

Police have arrested a 32-year-old man on suspicion of armed robbery. Last night he was in custody for questioning.

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