RAM Raiders caused £10,000 of damage when they ploughed into Iden Post Office and village store.
The Grade 2 listed shop, which dates to the 1780’s, was hit during the early hours of Saturday morning.
Geoff Kiddle, who runs the shop, was asleep upstairs when the raiders struck.
He said: “The whole building literally shook.”
In the few minutes it took Geoff to contact the police they sped off with five thousand pounds worth of cigarettes.
He said: “The whole thing could only have taken four minutes.”
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The ram-raid pushed back the front of the building causing thousands of pounds of structural damage. But defiant Geoff had the shop up and running this week and commented: “We keep going no matter what.”
And Geoff praised villagers for their support. He said: “The support from the village has been amazing. It is very encouraging.”
Iden Stores is a local success story and was saved from potential closure a few years ago when a consortium from the village bought the freehold.
Geoff also praised Rye police for their quick response time.
It is believed the raiders came across the border from Kent. The vehicle used was described as red and sporty but had stolen plates on it which belonged to a green Hyundai car stolen from the Tunbridge Wells area.
Sergeant Warren Downs, of Rye Police, said: “Police were at the scene within seven minutes but they had made their escape.
“Kent Police currently have a series of similar crimes on them and it is most likely these offenders originate form outside Sussex.
“Rye Neighbourhood policing team have been visiting local rural village shops and offering crime prevention tips. Marked police patrols in the area have been increased.”
Sergeant Downs is investigating the matter and any information can be passed to him by calling 101 and quoting reference 264 of 28/01/12.