Man, 70, wins praise for tackling raiders

A 70-YEAR-OLD man, who thwarted a gang of armed robbers as they raided a jewellers, has been commended for his bravery.

The pensioner tackled the thieves, who were brandishing sledgehammers, after they raided Thurlow Champness and Son in Bury St Edmunds on Monday morning.

The gang of four men escaped empty handed after the Good Samaritan, who has identified himself as Mike, grabbed a bag containing jewellery from one of them.

His actions have been praised by the police and bosses at the jewellers.

Mike, who lives outside Bury, was walking with his wife Penny, 62, in Abbeygate Street when the raiders sped towards them on scooters.

One of them swerved around his wife and rammed into the doorway of the jewellers.

Mike said: “They rushed inside and there was a lot of shouting, banging and I saw one of the displays glaze over after they hit it with a sledgehammer.

“I pushed one of the other scooters to try to get them off but I knew something was going on so I followed them into the jewellers.

“My wife got hold of me by the back of my jacket as she wasn’t keen on me going in.”

Once inside, he was confronted by a man with a sledgehammer but blocked the raider’s exit.

As the raider bolted past him, Mike grabbed a bag from him containing five watches.

Outside, Mark Baker, who is a shop assistant at Savers, chased and swiped at them with his bag as they fled on the scooters.

No-one was injured in the incident and two scooters were later found in Long Brackland.

Trevor Salt, managing director at Thurlow Champness, said: “What Mike did was incredibly brave. We’re very grateful to him and the people who harassed the scooter riders outside the shop.”

Detective Inspector David Giles added: “This man put the detection of crime above his own safety in intervening in this incident.”

The jewellers was raided before in April 2009. Four men were jailed for their involvement.

A 32-year-old man, of Islington, London, has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery and released on bail.