Although "a few hundred pounds” was stolen from the Ladbrokes, in Bishop’s Cleeve, the 62-year-old supervisor at the Londis store, in Bourton, was able to fight off his aggressor.
Despite attempts, he could not disarm the intruder but forced the masked man and an accomplice to flee after spraying him in the eyes with a £1 surface cleaner they sell at the shop. He said: "My very first thought when he came into the shop was that somebody was having a joke. I thought that there was no way they are coming for the tills.
"He couldn’t reach me with the hammer unless he threw it at me. Another customer and I tried to disarm him and he got very angry.
"If he had a gun and I knew that it was real, it may have been a different story.
"But, in this case, I turned to get a cleaning product from behind the desk and, between his balaclava, I managed to spray him in the eyes. That’s when he and his friend ran off.”
As the drama unfolded, John’s quick-thinking colleague, 21-year-old Jim Wilsdon, had ushered a frightened woman and her baby to the shop’s bakery where they hid throughout.
General manager, Ewen Smith, said that he was proud of his staff.
He added: "They tried to use scare tactics to make John open the tills. But John was very instinctive and, after asking him to leave, John blasted the man in the eyes with cleaning product.”Detectives are trying to establish if both offences are linked while forensic, CCTV and other inquiries remain ongoing.
A spokesman for Ladbrokes said: "Ladbrokes is providing all necessary support to the affected shop colleagues and will be giving all possible assistance to the police including CCTV."Full story...