Thieves blow up Leeds post office - one week after manager is robbed at gunpoint

Thieves blew up a cash machine at a post office in Gipton, tearing down half the roof in the process.

The front door and the outside wall cash machine at Grange Park Parade Post Office.
The front door and the outside wall cash machine at Grange Park Parade Post Office.

A group of men caused a gas explosion at Grange Park Parade corner shop and post office before using power tools to cut out the cash machine on the front wall.

The explosion was so powerful that part of cash machine smashed into the back wall of the building and half the roof was torn down.

The front door and the outside wall cash machine at Grange Park Parade Post Office.

It comes just one week after post office manager Muhammad Obaid Lone, 35, was robbed at gun point in his store.

Neighbours were woken by a huge bang at 2.20am on Tuesday morning as three or four men targeted the store in Dib Lane.

The police were called but the men escaped in a vehicle along Easterley Road in the direction of Seacroft.

Power tools were used to cut through the roller shutters at the store in Dib Lane, Gipton.

Mr Lone was awake at the time due to fasting obligations during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and made his way straight to the store from his Armley home.

He said: "This is my first time business. I've only been here eight months.

"I worked for my cousin for eight years in West Bowling in Bradford and it never happened like that.

"Everything I have I have put into here. I was just starting to build it up, but I can't stop as I am paying for this."

Supportive customers were coming up to Mr Lone throughout Tuesday in shock at what had happened.

The shopkeeper also described how he had been held up at gun point at 4.45pm last Tuesday May 21.

Mr Lone said: "He came in asking for money and I said 'are you joking?'

"He said 'no, my gun is loaded, give me the money, quickly. Don't joke with me'".

Mr Lone said he was not scared as he had experienced similar situations in Pakistan, before he came to England 14 years ago.

"I knew he could kill me," he added. "He could do anything, but I wasn't scared."

He gave the man cash and a mobile phone.

The man also stuffed his hand in the till, took five packets of cigarettes and tried to take a handbag belonging to an elderly woman in the shop, but she screamed and the man ran off.

Mr Lone joked sarcastically that he had been 'blessed' in the past week, but added that he had to keep going and hoped to be open again within three or four days.

Detective Inspector Paul Hobson, of Leeds CID, said: “I would appeal for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone who witnessed any suspicious behaviour in the area leading up to the incident to get in contact with police.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Leeds CID on 101, quoting crime reference 13190269557.

Information can also be passed anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.