March 13 2014 Latest news:
Kath Sansom, .
Monday, February 3, 2014
A shopkeeper was left reeling after a six foot four man being pursued by police ran into her town centre store and tried to escape through the locked back door.
Jan Gatward praised police for their efforts in rescuing her – and quickly handcuffing and arresting the man.
Customers were browsing cards and toys inside Toy Box shop in Station Road at lunchtime today when the door flew open and the man rushed in.
Mrs Gatward said: “The door slammed open and the man ran in looking panicked and scared.
“He said the police were chasing him and he ran to the back door and tried to get out. The door is locked, so he looked around to see where he could get out.”
Mrs Gatward said customers looked frightened and in shock but despite being only five foot three and considerably shorter than the man, she dashed out from behind her counter and confronted him.
“I’m not quite sure why I did it, I am guessing it was an instinct to protect my customers but I went up to him and wagged my finger and told him to get out of my shop,” she said.
Two police officers then burst into the shop, shouted at him to drop whatever it was in his hands, which turned out to be a mobile phone, and handcuffed him, leading him to a waiting police car outside.
“Police informed me that they were not taking any chances as he usually carries a knife,” she said.
“I’ve no idea what would have happened if they hadn’t got there so quickly. The police response time was fantastic and I thank them very much for that.”
The man is described as black, about six feet four tall, thick set, wearing a dark coloured padded jacket which was zipped up halfway.
A police spokesman said they were waiting for a full report of the incident.