Steven Ifield holding a folded walking stick intending it to look like a shotgun Photograph: Metropolitan Police

A man who attempted to rob Wanstead Post Office while pretending to be carrying a gun has been jailed for 16 years. Steven Ifield, 52, of Hornchurch was refused by staff at the post office who told him the till was on a time lock.

He was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court last week. The Metropolitan Police have issued this press release:

An armed robber who targeted two banks and a post office in Redbridge has been jailed.

Steven Ifield, 52 (08.02.69) of Park Lane, Hornchurch appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, 30 April. He was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment.

Following a two week trial at the same court in January, Ifield was found guilty of two counts of robbery, one count of attempted robbery and three counts of possession of an imitation firearm.

Between 7 October and 7 November 2019, Ifield targeted two banks and a post office in Gants Hill and Wanstead.

On two occasions he produced what police believe to have been an imitation handgun but which to staff, appeared genuine.

On the third occasion, he used a folded walking stick half concealed inside a carrier bag and held it as if he was carrying a shotgun.

He pointed the imitation weapons at staff, demanding that they give him money.

At the banks, Ifield managed to steal cash and stuffed it into his coat before fleeing. He made off with £3,230 from one raid and £1,360 from the other.

His attempt to rob the post office was foiled when staff refused to open the till, telling him it was on a time lock. 

Detectives identified Ifield after tracing the route he took as he fled the scene of each robbery.

By examining extensive CCTV from buses, shops and tube stations, they were able to follow his movements and place him at all three venues at the times the raids took place.

PC Stefen Rule, from the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “Ifield has a long and serious offending history, including nine previous armed robberies. Each one will have caused a huge amount of distress to the innocent members of staff who were targeted.

“I am pleased that he will no longer be able to pose a threat to the public. I hope that these convictions and the length of the sentence imposed by the court will be of some comfort to the victims and help alleviate the trauma they have experienced.”

The stormy weather made short work of this Buckingham Road tree.

A white-cheeked Turaco which has been sighted in Wanstead a number of times over the past ten years is still around, having been spotted in tree by Shoulder of Mutton pond in Wanstead Park. The bird is native to Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea – this one is thought to have been an escaped pet.

Wansteadium reader Michelle Wells took the pictures on Sunday, and said: “It still seems to be a very long way from home.”

We’ve had a number of sightings of what is thought to be the same bird over the past few years, including these memorable pictures taken in Aldersbrook.

With the very gradual return of events, we’re delighted to announce that the Wanstead Events Calendar (aka the Wanstead Social Diary) is returning to Wansteadium.

For years the calendar has been the definitive guide to events taking place in Wanstead, and we’re pleased that the past few months off has allowed it to be given a significant upgrade.

As before, if you are an event organiser, you are encouraged to submit details of your event via this page.

Soon organisers will not only be able to publicise their events through the calendar, but will also be able to sell tickets through the listing. The tickets will be automatically issued, and organisers will get a list of names of attendees. The proceeds will be automatically paid to you. If you’re an event organiser, watch this space.

The title of Hannah Armstrong’s landmark book Wanstead House: East London’s Lost Palace, which is to be published next March, has sparked a bit of a debate. Specifically: was Wanstead House in Essex or London?

Dr Armstrong spent years researching the history of the House, which once stood grandly in Wanstead Park. She has thoughts on the Essex/London matter, and writes the following:

Thank you everyone for your interest in my forthcoming book. As you can imagine, the title of a book requires careful consideration and there are several reasons why we chose ‘Wanstead House: East London’s Lost Palace’.

If Wanstead House were still to exist, it would be situated in east London, both in terms of postal district (since 1856) and local government (since 1965). The fact that it is no longer here means that it has been lost to east London. 

Other existing houses, such as Kenwood, Osterley, Chiswick, Ham and Syon, despite having originally been part of Middlesex are now seen as part of London.

Perhaps most important is the relationship that Wanstead’s owners such as Josiah and Richard Child had with the capital. They looked towards London, not Essex, to make their fortunes and to build their social status. Many contemporary accounts and images of Wanstead highlight the estate’s proximity to the capital and John Rocque featured Wanstead in his famous Survey of London and its environs in 1746. To have named the book ‘Essex’s Lost Palace’ would have been to ignore a major strand of why Wanstead developed as such an important estate. That is why it felt most appropriate to refer to east London.

I hope that gives you a better understanding of why we chose this title and I hope you enjoy the book when it comes out next year.

The book is now available for pre-order from Wanstead Bookshop for £30, a pre-order discount of £15 on the cover price. Pre-ordering helps Liverpool University Press finance the printing of the book.