Two men jailed after staff sprayed with ammonia and £15k stolen during robbery at Accrington Post Office

Two men have been jailed for their roles in a robbery conspiracy which saw staff at an Accrington Post Office sprayed with ammonia.

By Sean Gleaves
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 4:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th May 2022, 5:00 pm

Police were called to reports around £15,000 had been stolen from the Post Office in Abbey Street at around 5.20pm on May 10, 2019

During the robbery, Daniel Burtak sprayed ammonia from a washing up liquid bottle at staff before escaping on a bicycle.

On his way out of the Post Office, Burtak – who was wearing a false beard and a scarf to hide his face – sprayed ammonia at staff for a second time.

CCTV captured getaway driver Colin Naylor waiting for Burtak close to a nearby pub in a black Mitsubishi Warrior pickup truck.

On May 31, 2019, the pair attempted to commit another robbery at the Post Office in Blackburn Road, Accrington.

At around 11am that day, Naylor was captured shopping at Asda on Moss Bank Way in Bolton.

CCTV then showed his Mitsubishi pickup being driven towards Accrington.

Post Office staff were sprayed with ammonia during a robbery in Accrington. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

At 12.20pm, Burtak – wearing the same false beard and scarf as on May 10 – cycled to the Blackburn Road Post Office.

He pushed at the front door but did not go inside.

Burtak’s actions roused suspicion with a Post Officer worker, who followed the defendant in his van onto Countess Street.

Burtak threw a bottle of washing up liquid containing ammonia at the Post Office worker’s van before getting into Naylor’s waiting Mitsubishi pickup.

Daniel Burtak (pictured left) and Colin Naylor (pictured right). (Credit: Lancashire Police)

DC Alex Prendergast, of East Division, said: “This was a planned conspiracy, with both defendants playing their own key roles.

“Burtak’s actions inside the Post Office on Abbey Street were both cowardly and shocking.

“Understandably, they left the victims feeling terrified. Thankfully, although they did suffer some injuries, they were not serious.”

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Daniel Burtak sprayed ammonia from a washing up liquid bottle before escaping on his bike. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Following the second incident, Burtak and Naylor were filmed by a member of the public acting suspiciously around some bushes on China Street, Accrington.

Recovered from the bushes were parts of Burtak’s disguise which contained the defendant’s DNA.

Officers also found the pickup truck abandoned on China Street.

Recovered from inside was a distinctive navy blue and yellow snood, which contained traces of Burtak’s DNA and Naylor’s Asda receipt.

Both defendants were subsequently arrested and interviewed.

Burtak denied any involvement in the offences.

A navy blue and yellow snood which was found inside the abandoned getaway car contained traces of Burtak’s DNA. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Naylor said that his pickup had been taken by a gang of Somalian men on May 10, who gave it back to him later that day and then took it from him again on May 31.

Those accounts were rejected by a jury at Burnley Crown Court earlier this year.

Burtak, 35, of Settle Street, Little Lever, Bolton, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery and three counts of administering a noxious substance.

He was sentenced to 12 years custody, with a three-year extended licence period after being deemed to be a dangerous offender.

Naylor, 51, of Raikes Way, Darcy Lever, Bolton, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was jailed for 12 years.

“Despite the overwhelming weight of evidence against them, both defendants continued with their absurd assertions that they were not responsible for these crimes,” DC Alex Prendergast added.

“I am pleased that the jury saw through their lies and came back with guilty verdicts.

“The sentences handed down by the judge reflect the seriousness of their offending.”