A TERRIFIED postmistress was left bruised and shaken after a man claiming to be armed burst into her shop and smashed a security door.

Julie Telfter, 52, was at Downton’s Cross Roads Post Office at the Headlands at 8.15am on Saturday morning when the man, described as 5ft 10ins tall and wearing a dark scarf around his face and gloves, came in brandishing something in a carrier bag.

He kicked at the counter, then the security door, which smashed, but he still could not get in and he assaulted Miss Telfter and forced her to open it.

He grabbed about £4,000 in cash before fleeing to a waiting blue BMW, which is thought to have been waiting 50 yards away.

Post master Tony Smith, 65, said: “Julie was very brave, pushing the alarm button. He could have used a weapon on her. But she pushed the alarm and the police were here really quickly.

“We’ve had everyone here today – CID, scenes of crime, the dog unit.

“We know that he was wearing Nike trainers because of the mark they left on the glass door, and Julie says he was wearing a hoodie, which might have been bright blue, and denim jeans.

“Normally she’d be able to describe what someone was wearing quick as a flash, but when your life has been threatened everything just becomes a blur.”

The post office has been burgled twice in the 15 years the couple have been running it, and Mr Smith says they had felt lucky nothing worse had happened.

That morning the shop had been full of customers only just before, but only Miss Telfter was in the shop when the man went in.

The offender is described as white, aged in his late twenties to early thirties, and of medium build.

DS Jim Stannard said: "This is a serious incident and we have a team of officers working on the case.

“Fortunately the staff member was not seriously hurt in the incident but was very shocked and distressed. We need to identify this man and I am appealing for the public to come forward with any information.

"I would like to speak to anyone who was in the area of the sub post office and 'Burnt Out Bikes' in Downton between 7.30 and 8.30 this morning and saw a man matching the description.

"I would also like to hear from anyone who saw a blue BMW saloon car which was seen in the area at the time of the incident."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Salisbury CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

A Post Office spokesman said: “Any robbery is very traumatic for the victims and we will be supporting the police in their efforts to apprehend those responsible."