Hammer and sickle raiders flee store after pensioner fights back

A SHOP owner sent armed robbers fleeing from his store after they threatened his wife with a lump-hammer and attacked his defenceless shop assistant.

Pensioner Tony Mitchell, 65, was moments from opening Stars n Jars in Hunts Hill, Glemsford, when two raiders wielding a 15-inch hammer and a large grass sickle burst in at 6am yesterday.

After striking shop assistant Tony Frampton with the hammer on his back and shoulder they threatened Mr Mitchell’s 60-year-old wife Carol, who was protecting her head with her hands, before demanding keys to the shop’s safe.

But Mr Mitchell, who has run the convenience shop for more than 20 years, was not prepared to give an inch to the balaclava-clad raiders.

“When I saw my wife being threatened and my friend attacked there was only one thing I was going to give the cowards,” said Mr Mitchell.

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“I picked up a 10ft long acro bar used for propping up floors and launched a running attack at them.”

Despite being confronted by the two men – one gripping a sickle that Mr Mitchell said was “big enough to slice someone’s head off” – he forced the raiders to flee the shop. They jumped into a four-wheel drive car where a third man wearing a balaclava was at the wheel.

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He said: “That wasn’t the end of it for me. When someone attacks your family and threatens the business you have sunk your life into I’m not the sort of person who is going to let that go.

“As they got in the car I rammed the pole through the windscreen and into the chest of one of the men. I can assure you he will have quite a few broken ribs if not worse.”

He added that Mr Frampton’s injuries did not need hospital treatment and they opened for business as usual and on time.

The three men drove off with the acro pole still sticking out of the windscreen towards the A1092.

The vehicle – a blue grey Diahatsu Fourtrack –which had previously been stolen from Tiptree in Essex was later found abandoned off Pentlow Road, near Foxearth.

The attack was the second time in eight months the Glemsford shop has been targeted. In a copy-cat incident last August robbers armed with baseball bats threatened staff before stealing a free-standing cash machine and fleeing in a stolen four-wheel drive car which was later abandoned in Pentlow.

A police spokesman said they were appealing for witnesses to contact them or anyone who might have information on yesterday’s incident.

She said she believed one of the men might have suffered injuries during the attempted raid.

Both men who entered the shop were white, wearing black clothes and balaclavas. The first man was in his 40s, of large build and the second man was about 50.

Calls should be made to Det Sgt Ann Naylor at Babergh CID on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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