It was business as usual for a Wetherby jeweller who fought off armed raiders along with a brave customer.
Owner of family firm Caines Jewellers, Robert Caine said his martial arts expertise and Army background helped him bundle three masked suspects out of the High Street store empty handed last Friday morning.
Speaking to the Wetherby News ,Mr Caine said he was not frightened by the experience and had reopened the shop by 3pm that day.
He said: “I was shaken up after the first robbery eight years ago but this is the third.”
The second was about six years ago.
“It was all over in a matter of minutes as we didn’t allow them to get in the shop properly. I was serving a man who was with his wife and children and he tackled the robber carrying a hammer and I went for the one with a sledgehammer.”
The 51-year-old added: “After the second raid I decided to get fit. I am ex army and run tae kwon-do classes and also train three to five times a week, so I am fit.”
Mr Caine said that police response was very quick but he called for more resources to tackle the current spate of raids on businesses across the Leeds area.
“These armed raids are happening all over Leeds. We need to spend more on our public services to stop these gangs. And we need tougher sentences.”
The jeweller thanked his customers for their support in the days after the raid and added: “I have had old dears dropping in with cakes and biscuits for us.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said the men – who were armed with a sledgehammer and hammer – then fled in a waiting Volvo V60, but not before members of the public smashed the rear window on the driver’s side.
Police said their actions “undoubtedly played a large role in the suspects fleeing empty-handed”.
The light blue Volvo, which was driven by a fourth man, made off towards the A1. The man involved in tackling the thieves suffered minor head and hand injuries in the incident.
He did not require hospital treatment following the incident at 11.33am.
Detective Inspector Richard Holmes, of Leeds District CID, commended his actions “in what was clearly a frightening situation”.
Det Insp Holmes said: “We are conducting a number of enquiries regarding this robbery and would like to speak to anyone who can help us. I am particularly interested in speaking with anyone who saw the Volvo V60 in the Wetherby area either just before or in the aftermath of the robbery.
“The car was damaged by members of the public in the store as the suspects made off and had a broken rear window on the driver’s side, so would have been very distinctive.”
Police are appealing for anyone with information or dash-cam or mobile phone footage of the incident to call 101.
They can also give information anonymously to Crimestoppers.