Local ‘have a go heroes’ helped capture two armed robbers who had pointed a gun at a postmaster’s head.
Mike Bunn stared down the barrel of a P17 air pistol brandished by Andrew Waldron (22) as his masked sidekick Joseph Crosby (50) demanded the postmaster filled a bag with money.
Mr Bunn, whose terrified wife Christine was behind the counter at Hinderwell Post Office, retreated to a back room, grabbed a pick-axe handle and went back into the store as the two robbers scarpered - only to be stopped in their tracks by the village postman and a local farmer who rode to the rescue on his combine harvester.
Eagle-eyed villagers spot both men wearing balaclavas and making a run for it down the high street. They caught up with them, still wearing gloves and hoodies - and pinned them down until police arrived, York Crown Court heard.
Crosby and Waldron were arrested and charged with attempted robbery and possessing an imitation firearm. The robbery happened at about 12.45pm on August 11 last year.
Waldron admitted both offences. Crosby, of Hebron Road, Stokesley, admitted attempted robbery but denied possessing the firearm. He was tried by a jury this week where Mr Bunn, in his 60s, told the court about the moment he thought he might be killed.
He said he and his wife, both in ther 60s, initially thought it was a “joke, but in bad taste”, when the two men walked into the store wearing balaclavas and dark clothes, but they were horror-struck when one of them pointed a gun.
John McDonagh, visiting the area with his partner, followed them in his car and restrained Crosby with the help of village postie Simon McCluskey and local farmer Tom Harland.
Waldron is said to have been found hiding in bushes by a villager, who held him down until police arrived.
Crosby and Waldron told police they had a large debt with a cannabis dealer and carried out the robbery under duress to pay him back. Crosby told police the dealer was the getaway driver who has never been caught.
Waldron and Crosby cased the shop for about a month before the raid and noticed delivery vehicles carrying thousands of pounds came to the post office every fortnight and Mrs Bunn was normally alone in the shop at lunchtime.
Since, Mr and Mrs Bunn suffered sleepless nights, nausea and flashbacks. The robbery had had a “huge impact” on the whole village.
Crosby, with previous for theft, fraud and smuggling claimed he had no idea a gun would be used but the jury found him guilty of attempted armed robbery after hearing evidence he had passed the weapon to Waldron on the 20-mile journey to the post office.