A BRAVE pensioner told how he used a broom to ward off a knife-wielding robber who targeted his newsagent in Burnley.
Stephen Pratt, 81, welcomed the four-year prison term given to Robert Waring, who was sentenced for attempted robbery at Burnley Crown Court on Friday.
Waring, 22, carried an eight-inch carving knife into Pratt's Newsagents in Padiham Road on the morning of October 23 last year and told shop assistant Linda Ronson to ‘hand over the money’.
Mr Pratt, whose family has owned the business since 1985, was in a back room but came through to the front of the shop when he heard the encounter.
After the hearing, he said: “I told him to leave, but when he didn’t I said ‘well you’ve got something, I’ll go and get something too’.
“I picked up a broom from out the back and said to him ‘you’ll get this in your face’, and then he just left.
“Maybe it was stupid but I don’t see why we should work and then someone comes in and takes our earnings.
“I just thought he’s getting nothing if I’ve got anything to do with it.
“Nothing like that had ever happened to me before and it was just instinct I suppose. The police offered me counselling afterwards but I said no chance, it didn’t really bother me.”
Waring, of no fixed abode, was on bail at the time and Mr Pratt’s description, along with some CCTV footage, helped officers recognise him at a bail hostel later that day.
Judge Robert Altham told Waring: “What happened is as much a testament to the courage of the people in the shop as it is to the cowardice that you showed that day.
“[Mr Pratt] picked up a brush and rather than comply with your request, which in many ways would have been a simpler and more sensible approach, he told you to leave in no uncertain terms.”
He acknowledged Waring had a ‘difficult start in life’ after the death of his father, and said he had ‘started to grow up’ following the birth of his daughter last year, who he has never met.
Waring, who has previous convictions relating to dishonesty and violence, had admitted attempted robbery and possession of a knife and was jailed for three years.
He was also given another year in prison for a separate offence of inflicting GBH on Jason Sutton.
The pair and other friends had been drinking together on June 11 last year and got into an argument, before Waring broke Mr Sutton’s jaw with a single punch.