Robbed for a second time

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A SHOPKEEPER is recovering at home in Preston after being tied up and beaten during a post office robbery.

A gang of masked men subjected Mohammed Iqbal to a terrifying ordeal before escaping with his car and a “substantial” amount of cash.

I can’t believe we have been targeted again

It was the second time in seven months that the shop, in High Street, Rishton, near Blackburn had been attacked.

In the previous raid in November Mr Iqbal’s sister Saima was assaulted by an armed gang before more than £30,000 was snatched.

“I can’t believe we have been targeted again,” said former teacher Saima at the family home off Bow Lane, Preston. “Fortunately my brother isn’t badly hurt, although it has really shaken him up.”

Three men burst into the post office at around 5.30pm on Friday as Mr Iqbal, 31, was closing up for the day. The gang, all wearing white CSI suits, threw a blanket over his head and secured his hands with cable ties.

He was kicked, punched and left badly bruised before the robbers took cash from the safe and made their escape in his Vauxhall Corsa.

The alarm was raised when Saima called police when her brother failed to answer his phone. The getaway vehicle was later found abandoned in a street 400 yards away.

“I’m not happy because I called the police at six o’clock when I couldn’t get an answer, but they didn’t turn up at the shop until 45 minutes later,” she claimed.

“I knew there had to be something wrong because I was calling and calling and he just didn’t answer. But I don’t think the police took it seriously enough at first.”

The robbery was a haunting flashback to November for the Iqbal family. On that occasion three men, one brandishing an axe, burst in when Saima was cashing up. She was assaulted, but bravely fought back, kicking and punching one of her attackers before they fled.

In January Daniel Quinn, 23, from Holme Slack Lane, Preston was jailed for four years eight months for robbery.

Speaking after Friday’s raid, Det Insp Simon Upton said: “This was a brutal and pre-planned robbery involving the use of violence against the postmaster who has been through a traumatic experience.”