Ipswich: Men Jailed After Post Office Robbery

Two men have been sentenced to a total of 16 years in prison after they plotted to rob a post office with a handgun and a knife.

Two people who plotted to rob a North Suffolk Post Office will be spending a total of 16 years in prison, after being sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court today, Wednesday 18 January 2012.

On the morning of Wednesday 28 July 2010, police were called to Thelnetham Road in Hopton where a man had entered the Post Office with a handgun and a knife. He threatened staff and was given an amount of cash before leaving the shop on foot. No-one was injured. A thorough search of the village and surrounding areas was carried out, and it was established that the man got into a dark-coloured people carrier which drove off.

From speaking further to witnesses, officers established that the vehicle was extremely distinctive – a maroon Toyota Previa around 15 years old. One of the other occupants of the car was a second man.

CCTV images from the Post Office were circulated to the media with a description of the offender, and a number of calls were received from potential witnesses. Work continued to try to identify the vehicle used, and other Post Offices in the area were visited to offer reassurance as well as to establish if the offenders may have also visited these stores. Around 60 people were spoken to during anniversary checks a week on from the robbery.

Following these checks, information was received about a vehicle which may have been involved, which was owned by Adam Fairbrass. The 29-year-old, who was living in Walsham-le-Willows, was known to police. On Friday 6 August 2010 he was arrested, along with 28-year-old Trevor Summers, of South Ockendon in Essex.

Both men knew each other - whilst neither of them admitted their parts in the robbery in interview, it emerged that they had gone shopping together in Essex just hours after the robbery was committed. They were released on police bail.

Further inquiries were carried out, and on 26 January 2011 Fairbrass, now of Queen’s Way in Ipswich was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery. Summers was at that point remanded in custody for other matters so was issued with a summons for the same offence.

They were listed for trial at Ipswich Crown Court, but pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery and today returned to court for sentencing. Both received custodial sentences of eight years.

Senior Investigating Officer, Superintendent Louisa Pepper said, “This incident was extremely frightening for the staff and customers of the Post Office, and caused great concern amongst the residents of this usually quiet village. A large police response was mobilised because of the actions of this pair and they are now facing a lengthy spell behind bars.

“The community joined together to support the Post Office and the investigation, and I am grateful to those who came forward to assist our inquiries. CCTV and eyewitness accounts giving very good descriptions of the Toyota and its occupants were key to locating Fairbrass and Summers, and bringing them to justice. We have continued to work in this community to help residents feel safe and with the Post Office itself to offer crime reduction advice.

“This type of offence is extremely rare in Suffolk, and those who target community locations using unnecessary violence such as this can expect stiff penalties as we have seen today.”