A retired market trader who fought off a gang of armed robbers after beating them with her handbag has said she knew she could have been in danger but would “do the same again”.
Ann Timson, of Spring Boroughs, Northampton, was caught on video running across a road towards the six-strong mob as they smashed the windows of a jeweller’s in Northampton.
The raiders, who had arrived at the scene on three scooters, drove away just moments after the red-coated pensioner began lashing out at them with a large black handbag.
Ms Timson, who is in her 70s, said she had been shopping in town when she bumped into a friend on Gold Street and stopped to have a chat when she heard a commotion.
In a statement issued through the police she said: “I became aware of a loud revving noise at the top of the street. I looked over and saw a kid run up to the doorway of the jeweller which is on the corner of Bridge Street.
“Three lads followed him and when I saw their arms going I thought the kid was being beaten up.
“My mother’s instinct kicked in and I ran across the road shouting at the lads to stop it.
“Only then did I realise that they were smashing glass and that it was a raid.”
Ms Timson, who is now retired, said she saw someone on a scooter in her way revving the bike’s engine but by then “was in full flight and I started whacking the lads over the head with my shopping bag”.
Footage of the robbery also showed other members of the public pinning down the man who had fallen from one of the scooters just yards away from the shop.
Passers-by did not come to her assistance to begin with, Ms Timson said, and many stood and watched or took photographs.
“I was amazed at that but they all seemed mesmerised,” she said.
“In the cold light of day, I know I put myself in danger. But I probably would do the same again.”
But Ms Timson said she had no plans to repeat her vigilante antics and was trying to keep a low profile after all the media attention.
She said: “My red coat has now been packed away for the winter and my red hair is being dyed green. And my black shopping bag is having a rest today, to give it time to recover from its bruises.”
Deputy Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, of Northamponshire Police, paid tribute to Ms Timson.
She said: “I have today met with Ann and, on behalf of the force, thanked her for what she did.
“She demonstrated true community spirit in wanting to help others but we should acknowledge that this did involve a clear element of risk.”
Northamptonshire Police said officers were called to the scene, on the corner of Gold Street and Bridge Street, at 9.30am yesterday after the offenders began to smash the store’s front windows using sledgehammers.
A total of four men, aged 18, 22, 25 and 39, were arrested and police are now seeking a further two other people who are believed to have been involved in the incident.
A police spokesman said: “Six offenders arrived at the shop on three motorbikes and attempted to smash the windows of the shop with sledgehammers.
“The offenders were disturbed by members of the public, one man was detained by members of the public at the scene.
“Another three men were arrested by police a short time later in the town centre.”
No one was injured as a result of the incident and detectives are now seeking witnesses.