London

Tulse Hill post office raid: Child threatened with gun

An armed raider waved a gun at a two-year-old child as he and another man tried to rob a post office in south London, Scotland Yard said.

The youngster was whisked to the back of the shop by her mother after the men burst into the branch on Tulse Hill.

One man, guarding the door, pointed his weapon at the woman and child. The other set the counter on fire but the employees refused to hand him any cash.

The raiders ran off empty-handed after staff locked themselves in a back room.

The mother and her child escaped uninjured.

'Callous attack'

The workers set off an alarm after the masked men burst into the post office, close to Tulse Hill railway station, at about 10:15 BST last Friday.

One of the robbers had a plastic bottle containing petrol, which he poured over the counter and set alight, but the staff remained hidden away, police said.

Image caption The mother whisked her child away from the post office counter, which the raider then set alight

The raiders then fled in the direction of the Deronda Estate, crossing the main Tulse Hill road as they did so.

The workers came out afterwards and used an extinguisher to put out the fire.

Det Insp Jason Prins, from the Metropolitan Police, described it as "a particularly callous attack".

"If it were not for the presence of mind of the staff, along with their courage in extinguishing a raging fire, this incident could easily have resulted in fatalities," he said.

The men were both aged about 25 and one was wearing a bright yellow high-visibility builder's jacket, police said.

Both carried black holdalls with long shoulder straps.

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