A would-be thief got more than he bargained for when he tried to raid a Boston Spa shop last weekend.
The intruder, who was found in the cellars at the Costcutter store on the village High Street on Saturday night, was forced to run away empty-handed as the manager and a member of the public fought him off with unlikely weapons.
Retail manager Neil Hanby hit the man over the head with a bottle of Champagne and jumped on his back as he tried to make his escape and, seeing the fracas, a customer grabbed a fire extinguisher and ‘blasted him in the face with foam’.
Though he escaped in a getaway car driven by an accomplice, the would-be thief did not get away with anything and is sure to be worse for wear after the brave pair had finished with him.
Mr Hanby described the moment he ‘cornered’ the intruder: “I heard a noise in the cellars and, as I went down, I saw him there. He realised he was cornered and when he came up I warned him not to proceed but he did. I had a bottle of Champagne in my hand and I hit him over the head with it.
“Basically we were fighting on the stairs and we went into the corridor and we ended up fighting and falling into the fridge.
He realised he was cornered and when he came up I warned him not to proceed but he did. I had a bottle of Champagne in my hand and I hit him over the head with it.Retail manager Neil Hanby
“Then a customer, a great customer, grabbed hold of a fire extinguisher and blasted him in the face with foam.”
Mr Hanby said the man was ‘a big lad’ but he was not willing to let him get away.
“He realised it was time to give up and ran out of the shop on to the street,” he said.
“I chased him and jumped on his back but his accomplice dragged him away and they drove off in a car.”
This attempted theft, carried out about 20 minutes before closing time on May 16, is the second incident in less than two months on Boston Spa High Street.
In March, two men dressed as women and wearing wigs and hats were caught on
camera allegedly demanding cash at the Post Office, just across the road from Costcutter.
Armed with a shotgun, the pair made off with money later found by police outside the Post Office, and a male member of staff was hit on the head with a crowbar trying to stop them.
The proximity of these incidents in what has been described as a quiet, leafy village is a worry to some people, said Mr Hanby.
“It doesn’t stress me out too much, but some people have commented on the last robbery at the Post Office and they are concerned because it starts making people think it is getting closer to home,” he said.
He did, however, come away from the attempted theft unharmed and, though he was about to shut up shop, he said he had to serve the fire extinguisher-toting customer, just to be fair.
He said: “The police did say they saw him staggering into a car later on some CCTV, but I didn’t have any injuries because I was using a bottle.
“It happened just before we were closing up, but I had to serve the woman who used the extinguisher to be fair.”
Wetherby police Sgt Susan MacLachlan said the intruder is described as 5’ 10”, of medium build, and in his late 30s.
He was wearing a light grey hooded top with the hood over his head and sports trousers with stripes down the side.
Anyone with information should phone the police on 101.