Villagers are shocked after an armed raid at Potterne Post Office.

Two people went into the Post Office, High Street, shortly before 5pm on Monday and one or both are understood to have pointed guns through the grille of the counter and asked the postmistress, June Boyack, for £2,000.

She refused and the robbers asked for £20 which she handed over and they left.

An extensive search was undertaken by the police with about a dozen officers involved, including armed officers and the police helicopter.

Two 17-year-old boys were arrested, one at 6.40pm and and the other at 7.20pm in Potterne, on suspicion of robbery and what was believed to be two replica handguns were recovered. They were taken to Melksham Police Station.

Mrs Boyack, who has run Potterne Post Office for more than 20 years, was unavailable for comment and a colleague referred inquiries to the Post Office press office but the Post Office is open as normal.

Neighbours were surprised to hear that an armed robbery had taken place.

One woman said: “I didn’t see anything. Someone knocked on my door to ask if I had seen anything. I have been to check on June to make sure she was okay.”

Clyde Hoddinott, chairman of Potterne Parish Council, said: “People are taken aback that this should happen in Potterne.

"June was very brave. Even if it wasn’t a real gun, it’s fairly frightening for someone to come in with a replica firearm.”

He praised the police for their response to the raid.

He said: “There was a substantial police presence in the area because nobody actually knew if the robbers had a firearm.

"The police were quickly on the scene and they took it very seriously.

"We saw the helicopter flying overhead and the next thing we knew people were ringing us and saying there had been an armed robbery in the village and to lock your doors as the police were still looking for the people involved.”

The two youths arrested were both released on police bail until the end of March pending further inquiries.