Watch as would-be robber is jailed after botched Post Office raid in Sunderland that saw him spooked by a smoke cloud

A would-be robber is behind bars after a botched Post Office raid in Sunderland which saw him spooked by a smoke cloud.

Syed Ahmed entered a Post Office on Chester Road in Sunderland wearing a motorcycle helmet early on February 8, 2021.

The 30-year-old grabbed an employee and threatened her with a knife before demanding another staff member handed over money from the till.

But he made off empty-handed after an employee pressed the panic button which caused a smoke cloud to fill the store.

CCTV footage shows Syed Ahmed in a motorcycle helmet as the panic button causes a smoke cloud in a Post Office in Sunderland.

Ahmed, of Ranson Street, had attempted to cover up his crime by throwing his DNA-smeared knife over a wall but it was later recovered by police who forensically linked it to their prime suspect.

He denied attempted robbery and possessing a bladed article but was yesterday (Thursday, August 11) found guilty by a jury following a trial at Durham Crown Court.

During a police interview, Ahmed claimed he “doesn’t do robberies” and insisted his innocence throughout the two-day trial but a jury saw through his lies and he is now beginning a prison term of five-and-a-half years.

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Syed Ahmed targeted the Post Office on Chester Road in Sunderland early on February 8, 2021.

Detective Inspector Alan Whittle, of Northumbria Police, said after the sentencing: “This was a real team effort to bring Ahmed to justice and I would like to thank everyone involved – from the victims to the officers who pulled together a compelling case.

“There is absolutely no place for violence in our communities and this was an appalling incident that inevitably caused significant distress to the victims, who were simply doing their jobs.

“Ahmed’s brazen behaviour quickly reversed when he was spooked by the smoke cloud, and after leaving empty-handed, he tried to do everything he could to cover up his deception.

“In the end, it was fantastic work by officers and our Forensic Services Department who were able to locate and seize the knife, which was irrefutably proven to be linked to Ahmed.

“I am pleased that the severity of Ahmed’s crime has been reflected in this custodial sentence, and we will continue to do everything we can to target perpetrators and bring effective justice against them.”