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Ram raid post office reopens

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 22, 2012

READY TO GET BACK TO NORMAL: Buckfastleigh postmistress Beverly Gardner Andy Styles TQAS20120914E-001_C

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THE centuries-old post office at Buckfastleigh is set to reopen after it was badly damaged in a ram raid.

Sub post mistress Beverley Gardner is preparing to open the doors of the Grade II-listed building two months after a vehicle was deliberately crashed into the building by raiders.

It will open for business on Monday.

"I can't wait to get back to normal", Ms Gardner said.

The post office was forced to close in July after a gang used a stolen Land Rover to ram the building and drag out an ATM.

They fled the scene empty handed after sounding alarms alerted nearby neighbours, sparking a man hunt across Teignbridge.

The raid left the building, dating back to 1750, severely damaged and structurally unsound.

The ceiling collapsed and the floor was left with a gaping hole where the ATM had been torn from its fittings.

Police launched an investigation but all lines of inquiry drew a blank.

Residents were directed to Buckfast post office while the town building was repaired.

Applied Heritage, a Buckfastleigh company, carried out the restoration and repair work.

Ms Gardner said: "It has been a difficult time but we are nearly there now. I am so pleased to be able to reopen.

"The full surveyor's report revealed there was a lot of structural damage because of how the vehicle hit the building.

"We had to liaise with Dartmoor National Park Authority because the building is listed. There was a lot of work done to strengthen the building.

"It has cost roughly £40,000 to repair. Applied Heritage has done a fantastic job, both inside and out."

A 16-year-old Buckfastleigh youth who was arrested on suspicion of burglary and the unauthorised taking of a vehicle later had his bail cancelled with no further action being taken.

A police spokesman said: "All inquiries have been completed and have come back negative.

"However, if any fresh evidence is brought to our attention we will look at the case again."

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