Detectives have released CCTV that shows the extraordinary lengths a desperate thief went to in order to rob a post office in Oldham.
In what is believed to have been an act of desperation on Christmas Eve, the thief targeted the Watchcote Post Office on Oldham Road in Failsworth at about 11am.
He went into the Post Office and initially demanded money from the staff working behind the counter.
He made efforts to open a secure door and then picked up a National Lottery ticket stand and flung it towards the glass screen in an attempt to shatter the glass and get behind the counter.
After failing to smash the screen, the thief forcibly removed the ceiling tiles and climbed through the gap in the ceiling into the secure area, where he stole some cash.
He is described as being white, of a pale complexion, about 6ft tall, of a slim build and in his 20s. He was also said to have wide, pale blue eyes and was wearing a black woollen balaclava, blue tracksuit and thick black gloves.
Officers also believe the man was pacing about outside the Post Office prior to the robbery and made several comments about his financial position, including comments about not being able to buy Christmas presents for children and something else along the lines of “I have no money, may as well do the Post Office”.
Detective Constable Tony Anwas said: “This CCTV paints perfectly the picture of just how desperate this man was to get his hands on some cash.
“I believe he has made a spur of the moment decision to rob the Post Office, and has executed his plan in a rushed and ham-fisted manner.
“We believe he was pacing about beforehand and making several comments about his dire financial position and inability to afford Christmas gifts.
“If you were outside and saw or spoke to this person we really need to hear from you.
“We also need to hear from anyone who knows who the person responsible is or who, having viewed the CCTV, recognises someone from the build of the man, the way he has walked or the clothing worn.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestopppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.