Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 14:42 UK

Rare stamps stolen in armed raid

Penny Black stamp
Rare Penny Blacks were among the stamps stolen

An international stamp collector has had his entire collection worth 400,000 stolen during an armed robbery.

Two men posing as police officers burst into a house in Torquay, Devon, on Monday morning.

Holding ball-bearing guns, they fired one shot and tied up the 60-year-old collector and his two adult sons.

They escaped with three ring binders containing 800 stamps, including rare Penny Blacks.

This appears to be a very well-planned robbery
Det Ins Paul Jones

The attackers apparently forced their way into the property shouting "this is a police raid get on the floor."

The alarm was raised after one of the sons managed to free himself and escape through a first floor window.

Det Insp Paul Jones, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said he believed the thieves were directly targeting the stamps.

"This appears to be a very well-planned robbery which has taken a lot of time and planning to execute."

He said it was very frightening for the victims, who had just moved into the rented property.

The two robbers were wearing white shirts, dark tops, trousers and black boots.

They are believed to have spoken with a Midlands accent and drove a turquoise-coloured car.

The police have notified the UK stamp trade about the robbery and said the rarity and high value of the stamps would make them difficult to sell.


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