An international stamp dealer had his £400,000 collection stolen after armed robbers conned their way into his home and tied up him and his two sons. The 800-stamp collection included a number of Penny Blacks. The two robbers, who were dressed as police officers, forced their way into Steve Bennett’s home by confronting him as he came to the door and shouting: “This is a police raid – get to the floor.” When the 60-year-old and his adult sons did so they were tied up and pillow cases were put over their heads. A gun was fired in an apparent attempt to frighten the victims into submission. Police said the raid was “well-planned” and must have been based on prior information. The robbers then searched Mr Bennett’s home to find the collection, which contained stamps ranging in value from £50 to £5,000. One of the collector’s sons made a brave attempt to get help, scrambling out of a first floor window in the Torquay home wearing a blindfold. He fell heavily to the ground, where he was seen by a passing postman. The postman untied him and called police to the house but by the time armed officers arrived the robbers had already escaped with their £400,000 haul.
It included several Penny Blacks, the world’s first adhesive postal stamp, which are over 160 years old. They usually sell for £150 to £200 although fine examples can sell for more. Det Insp Paul Jones, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “This appears to be a very well-planned robbery which has taken a lot of time and planning to execute. “The victims remain shocked at what happened to them. It was very frightening for them.Arthur Ryan, a stamp dealer from Richmond in south-west London said: “The robbers will be able to get rid of the Penny Blacks abroad.”
Courtesy of the Telegraph