Shop manager thwarts armed robbery

By James HoreA BRAVE shop manager who refused to open his till when faced with a gun-toting robber told last night of his terrifying ordeal. Dick Page was working at Chris and Dave's family store in Bergholt Road, Colchester, when a man walked in and asked for a packet of cigarettesBut when the 55-year-old shop manager turned back from the shelf, a pistol was pointed at his face and the robber demanded he hand over cash.

By James Hore

A BRAVE shop manager who refused to open his till when faced with a gun-toting robber told last night of his terrifying ordeal.

Dick Page was working at Chris and Dave's family store in Bergholt Road, Colchester, when a man walked in and asked for a packet of cigarettes

But when the 55-year-old shop manager turned back from the shelf, a pistol was pointed at his face and the robber demanded he hand over cash.

However, the gunman was distracted when an elderly woman walked in to the store and Mr Page took his chance, refusing to open the till.

The robber then panicked, leaving the store empty-handed before fleeing towards the Esso garage and Braiswick area of Colchester.

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Mr Page, from Birch, said it was the second time in just a few years that he had been the victim of an armed robbery.

He recalled: "As I turned round from taking the cigarettes, I was looking down the barrel of a gun and from what I know about weapons it looked very authentic.

"He said 'Open the till', but I told him there is nothing in there and at that point one of our regular customers walked in - a little old lady in her 80s who is partially blind - and I forgot about him and I was more worried about her.

"She thought something was up, and although she did not know what, I think she could tell from the tone of my voice. Then I turned to him again and swore at him and told him to get out and I opened the door and he left.

"I was not worried so much, but then reality kicked in and afterwards when I was speaking to the police, it really got to me."

Mr Page was held up three years ago by a man who pushed a knife to his stomach before escaping with the shop's takings - but after experience he made a promise to himself that he would not fall victim again to robbers.

"I always said I would have a go at someone with a knife after that happened, but still thought if someone pulled a gun I would open the door and put the safe in their car for them," he added.

"I think if I had been on my own it would have been different, but the little old lady altered it. It is so ridiculous, we are a tiny little shop and there must have been £140 in the till and that person could be looking at seven to 10 years if they are caught. It is not on."

The robber was described as white, aged between 19 and 25, about 5ft 7in tall, of slim build, with one or two days' stubble growth and wearing a dark balaclava on his forehead and a knee-length florescent jacket.

Anyone with information should contact Colchester police on 01206 762212 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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