Two robbers – dressed in full-length women’s burkhas – pistol-whipped a post office manager during a daylight raid in Bradford.
The attackers bundled their 38-year-old victim into the premises as he opened the shop.
They brutally struck him on the head with the butt of a handgun when he was unable to open a safe.
But the raiders then panicked and fled empty-handed when they saw a customer peering through the window of the post office, in Oak Lane, Manningham.
They jumped into a waiting getaway car – a stolen silver Volvo S60 with a 54 registration plate – which contained at least one other man.
The car was found a short time later, abandoned and on fire at Bradford Salem rugby union club in Shay Lane, Heaton. The raiders are then thought to have made their escape on foot through Heaton Woods.
The raid happened at about 9am yesterday – the day of the major Muslim holiday and festival, Eid.
Police believe the men had been lying in wait for the post office manager and pounced on him as he opened the shop.
After the gunmen fled he was taken to hospital and treated for a cut head and bruising.
Detective Inspector Steve Snow, of Bradford South CID, said it had been a planned attack and the violence used had caused extreme distress to the manager.
He said: “Thankfully, the victim received minor injuries and will make a full recovery.
“Attacks on post offices are rare. But these were determined individuals who were prepared to use violence in order to steal from innocent members of the public.”
Police are hunting two Asian males, who were slim and thought to be in their 20s, and both wearing burkhas. It is believed another one or two men were in the getaway car.
Det Insp Snow appealed for anyone who saw anything, or anyone acting suspiciously in the area at the time, to come forward. He also wants to hear from anyone who saw the silver Volvo parked near the post office, or en route to Shay Lane.
And he appealed for dog walkers who might have seen the suspects running through Heaton Woods after dumping the car to contact police.
He added: “The offenders did not get away with any money, but I would urge the public to offer any support they can.”
Anyone with information can contact Bradford South CID on 0845 6060606, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.