Devon hotel robbery victims tell of 'worst nightmare'

image captionPolice are trying to identify a rucksack worn by one of the masked robbers

The victims of an armed robbery in Devon have spoken about "their worst nightmare".

Nigel and Sarah Bell and their 12-year-old daughter were threatened at gunpoint by masked men at their farmhouse hotel near Newton Abbot.

CCTV images have been issued by police trying to identify a rucksack worn by one of the suspects.

Two men arrested in connection with the robbery in August have been released without charge.

'Horrifying experience'

Mr and Mrs Bell have made a "heartfelt" appeal to anyone with information which could help police catch the robbers.

"We were subjected to terrible violence and threats," Mr Bell said in a statement.

"Having these people enter in such a brutal and threatening way is something you never expect to happen, let alone to your child - someone so young and innocent.

"People will never understand the true impact this ordeal has had upon our daily lives."

Mr Bell said the family had been overwhelmed by the kindness and support shown by the local community and former guests.

image captionThe rucksack has an "unusual" strap and may be the type used by snowboarders

"Every day we consider ourselves lucky that we are all still alive... and look forward to the future that at one point we thought we may never have had," he said.

"This horrifying experience has completely changed our lives and our outlook on life.

"People all too often use the phrase 'it's your worst nightmare', but this truly was our worst nightmare."

Releasing further details of the armed robbery, Det Insp Neil Wilden said the men entered Sampsons Farm at about 0400 BST on Sunday 8 August.

Snowboarding theory

Both suspects, dressed in security style clothing and balaclavas, used black duct tape to tie up the family, before forcing Mr Bell to take them to the safe and gun cabinet.

Exactly what was stolen in the robbery has not been disclosed, but police believe the suspects escaped on foot or on a motorbike.

Det Insp Wilden said: "We want to try and identify one of the rucksacks an offender was carrying and which can be seen in the still from the CCTV footage.

"It has a high strap which is quite an unusual feature. We believe the rucksack may be used for a sport such as snowboarding.

"If anyone knows what brand or what type of rucksack it is, we would urge them to contact us. Any piece of information, no matter how small, could be crucial."

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