A POSTMASTER was left shocked but unhurt after an armed robbery at a village Post Office.

Two intruders, one of whom was brandishing what is thought to be a handgun, struck at Cockfield Post Office, in County Durham, just after 5.30pm, yesterday (Tuesday, March 25) as the Postmaster was beginning to close-up for the night.

The assailants threatened their 60-year-old victim and instructed him to open a safe at the back of the premises, on Front Street.

They forced him to hand over a substantial amount of cash before leaving the building through the front door and turning left.

It is not known if they had a getaway vehicle.

There was no-one else in the building at the time of the incident.

The robbers were wearing dark clothing, with scarves covering the lower part of their faces.

The man brandishing the weapon is described as white, 6ft tall and heavily built.

He is thought to be aged between 35 and 40 and was wearing a black three-quarter length coat with a hood.

His accomplice was wearing similar clothing.

The Post Office was closed today (Wednesday) while further forensic examinations were carried out at the scene.

Detective Inspector Paul Phillips said: “It is very rare for a serious crime like this to happen in Cockfield, which is usually a very quiet village.

“We are carrying out a forensic examination of the scene and obviously the post office will remain closed until that has been completed.

“If anyone was in the area on Tuesday evening and can help the investigation, I would urge them to come forward.”

Residents living near the scene said that police officers had carried out house to house enquiries this morning.

One householder, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I don’t ever remember there being a raid on the Post Office here before.

“It is quite disturbing to see armed response officers, sniffer dogs and the police helicopter in the village.

“I’m not saying we don’t ever see the police round here, because we do, but when you start talking about raids on Post Offices, that becomes a bit unnerving for villagers.”

Anyone with information should call Durham Police, on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.