Fearless gran sees off knife raider

VIDEO A FEARLESS granny today told how she bravely stood up to a knife-wielding robber after he burst into her store and demanded cash from the tills.Gutsy Ann Dix was behind the counter at Stowmarket party suppliers Phosphene when the man thrust a nine-inch carving knife towards her and said: “Put the money in the bag.

A FEARLESS granny today told how she bravely stood up to a knife-wielding robber after he burst into her store and demanded cash from the tills.

Gutsy Ann Dix was behind the counter at Stowmarket party suppliers Phosphene when the man thrust a nine-inch carving knife towards her and said: “Put the money in the bag.”

But the knifeman got more than he bargained for when Mrs Dix refused and, grabbing a knife she had nearby, replied: “If you use yours, I'll use mine.”

The terrifying stand-off happened at the shop in Milton Road South at 4.20pm on Saturday when up to eight people, including a three-year-old boy, were inside.

The startled robber, whose face was covered by a scarf and a hooded jumper, repeated his demand three times, before giving up and fleeing on foot.

The incident followed a robbery in Stowmarket on Tuesday when two hooded teens threatened staff at Mary Alison Hair Design with knives before making off with cash and a bag. Police are yet to say whether the two cases are linked.

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Today, Mrs Dix revealed she had been consumed with anger and not fear during the ordeal.

The courageous 58-year-old, who owns the store with husband Cliff, said: “He was pointing the blade at me, saying if I gave him the money no one would get hurt.

“I said 'no way, walk out and leave now while you still can'.

“I was in control and quite relaxed, really. I thought 'I'm not having this'.

“It just so happened there was a knife nearby that I use to curl the ribbons of the balloons we sell. I picked it up and said 'if you use yours, I'll use mine'.

“He sort of stood there in a daze and didn't know what to do.

“He tried the same thing again, asking me for the money, but I told him there was no way he was getting a penny.”

Police arrived shortly after, combing the area for finger and footprints and inspecting footage from a CCTV camera opposite.

The robber, believed to be in his late teens, ran from the shop and across Gipping Way before disappearing out of sight.

The police helicopter flew over the town in a bid to trace him.

Mrs Dix, a Stowmarket-born grandmother-of-three, said: “I have been through so much this year I just thought 'that's it'.

“I recently lost my mother and it really hit me. Two other people I know also died and my husband is waiting for heart surgery.

“I work 50 or 60 hours a week building up the business and I wasn't going to let him get away with any money.”

Mrs Dix's bravery comes after the government announced a review of the law to protect those who stand up to burglars, robbers and muggers.

Justice secretary Jack Straw said there was a line “between responsibility and recklessness”, but that the law should protect the former.

He said that law enforcement was “not just a matter for courts, prisons, probation service, police, but for all of us”.

Suffolk police today said they were hunting a white man aged in his late teens or early 20s after Saturday's attempted robbery.

They said he was 5ft 6in to 5ft 8in, of slim build and was wearing a grey or navy hooded top, light coloured trousers, with a grey scarf around his face.

Officers are keen to speak to anyone who was in the Milton Road South car park or Gipping Road area between 4.15pm and 4.25pm on Saturday.

Anyone with information about Saturday's attempted robbery should contact Stowmarket CID on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

What do you think of Ann Dix's bravery? Should we stand up to criminals? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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