London: A 56-year-old Indian-origin woman used a steel chair to fight off machete-wielding thieves who tried to rob her shop in northwest England, earning praise for the brave act.
Hamalata Patel was confronted by two robbers with faces hidden behind balaclavas while working at her K and L Newsagent store in Winsford, Cheshire, last week.
“The shop was empty when two lads walked in holding the machetes. They were shouting at me and I just told them ‘if you need it then take it’ but one of them banged the machete on the counter and started to damage the shop so I just lost the plot,” Patel said.
“We have a chair that we leave out for some of our older customers so I picked it up and chased them out of the shop while I shouted at them, ‘okay, if you ask for it then you are going to get it and I’m coming for you’,” she said.
Her husband, 63-year-old Dhirubhai and granddaughters — four-year-old Zuri, and Emi (2) — were also in the back of the shop at the time.
“They [robbers] ran out of the shop and my husband who was in the back came out to see that I was okay. Word of what I’ve done is starting to get around the area, everyone knows what I’m like. I help out with people and charities and I care for people in the local area, but don’t ever cross me,” she said.
Her brave act was caught on CCTV, showing the thieves fleeing from the shop empty-handed.
Patel has owned the shop with her husband since 1984 and said she had never experienced an incident like it in her shop before.
“In a sense, I feel sorry for the two who came in but they have done wrong. I’ve been here for more than 30 years and I’ve never had anything like this before. We had an incident in 2011 when someone tried to break into the cash machine outside the shop when we had it. But no one was in the shop at the time so this was a lot worse,” she said.
A spokesperson for Cheshire Police confirmed two teenagers, aged 16 and 14, have been arrested and released on bail until October 19.