The owners of a village post office attempted to foil a pair of masked burglars – by pouring water on their heads.
Two balaclava-clad raiders forced their way into Broadway Stores in Fair Green, Glemsford, by repeatedly reversing a stolen pick-up truck into the building.
Once inside, the two men ripped a cash machine from the premises, using a piece of rope attached to a dark blue Toyota Hilux, before escaping in another vehicle, described as dark in colour.
As the attack on the shop unfolded at around 4.30am on Sunday, the owner and her husband, who live above the store, attempted to protect their livelihood.
“I thought ‘oh my God, I hope this is not a ram raid’ and then I looked outside and saw a man in a mask with a sledge hammer in his hand knocking on the door,” said the owner, who did not want to be named.
She said that she shouted out of the window that she was going to the call the police, while her husband, the sub-postmaster, got a bucket of water to throw down on the raiders.
“They were being so aggressive and I thought the building was going to collapse as they must have rammed the shop 20 times,” she said.
“I told my husband not to go downstairs as they had lots of tools with them. I felt so hopeless.”
Ignoring his wife’s pleas, the sub-postmaster armed himself with a hockey stick and ran downstairs, but the burglars had made their getaway.
“It was very scary and I was praying they would stop,” said the owner, who has run the business for two-and-a-half years.
“Fortunately, there was no cash in the ATM or the till, and we had lots of villagers and staff helping us clean up on Sunday.”
The owner added that she felt police could have done more, as she said it took officers around an hour to arrive.
A police spokeswoman said a unit was dispatched at 4.30am and had stopped a vehicle, which matched the description of the one involved. Other officers had then arrived at the store by 4.50am.
She added the suspects were described as two men of stocky build. Both were wearing dark clothing and balaclavas.
Calls should be made to police on 101.