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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 17:51 GMT
Postmaster sacked over robbery
Sub-postmaster Soli Dick
The Post Office says Mr Dick did not follow procedure
An elderly postmaster, injured when he tried to fight off a robber, has been sacked for refusing to pay back thousands of pounds towards the stolen cash.

Soli Dick, 74, from Croydon, south London, was originally ordered to pay nearly 7,000 of the 10,000 taken, because he had failed to take the right security precautions.

After an appeal the amount was dropped to 3,620, but Mr Dick continued to refuse to pay on principle.

A Post Office spokesman said any sub-postmaster's contract stated he or she would be responsible for anything lost "through negligence, carelessness or error".

Contract terminated

The raider opened a safety door by reaching through a hatch left open at Mr Dick's sub-post office, in Beckenham, south London, in 2001.

He then struck the sub-postmaster with a set of keys, leaving him with blood on his shirt.

If I paid it would mean that I am admitting guilt and that is something I would not be able to live with
Sub-postmaster Soli Dick
Despite Mr Dick's efforts to stop him, the robber made off with a delivery of bank notes.

A meeting was due between the Post Office and the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters to resolve the issue.

But Mr Dick, who has worked for the post office for 30 years, received a letter at the weekend telling him his contact would be terminated in three months.

Money raised

Mr Dick said: "I am really devastated as my federation representative was to attend a meeting with the head of the counter section.

"I was really shocked. I thought at least they could have waited until that meeting took place.

"People in the area have said they would raise this money on my behalf, but it is not a question of money.

MP's backing

"If I paid it would mean that I am admitting guilt and that is something I would not be able to live with."

Conservative MP for Beckenham, Jacqui Lait, and local vicar the Reverend Nick Lang are backing Mr Dick.

The Post Office spokesman said he could not comment on an individual case.



BBC London's Sarah Harris
"His customers have offered to raise the money for him"

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