A HAVE-A-GO hero from Lyme Regis saved his boss thousands of pounds after confronting thieves who were raiding their shop.
The incident happened at the Lyme Regis Antique & Craft Centre last Thursday at around midday, when two thieves attempted to steal gold rings from the shop.
As they were breaking into a cabinet which stored the gold rings, shop worker Bob Bennett confronted them. One ran off but the other attacked Mr Bennett, who responded by punching the attacker, who fell to the floor, leaving the gold rings to scatter over the floor.
The thief then scrambled back to his feet and ran off, with Mr Bennett calling the police immediately.
One of the men is described as being white, tall, clean shaven and wearing a black T-shirt with a logo on the front, with the other man is described as white, short, skinny, not clean shaven and wearing a black cap.
Mr Bennett told of the moment he confronted the raiders.
He said: “I was working on the counter, adjacent to the ring cabinet, when a woman asked me to show her something which was at the back of the shop.
“After showing the lady to the back of the shop, I looked over and one of them ran off and I knew something was up.
“I ran over and one of them ran at me and threw the first punch.
“My instinct kicked in and I threw a punch back in self-defence, which knocked him over and a lot of gold rings scattered all over the place.
“At the end of the day they had the potential of getting away with rings worth about £6,000 so it could have been a different story, but I have hopefully saved about £3,000 or £4,000 worth of rings, and there is also a moral value to stand up for.”
It is estimated that a dozen gold rings were stolen with an estimated value of £1,500 but the cost could have been much higher if Mr Bennett had not confronted the thieves.
Following the daylight raid, police have been scouring CCTV images in a bid to track the criminals, who ran off towards Broad Street.
Colin Willis, who owns the shop, said: “Bob saved the day. The value of the rings stolen was between £1,000 and £1,500 retail but it could have been much more if it wasn’t for Bob. No harm was caused to anyone but the thief, so we are thankful for that. It just proves where society is today, that thieves can be so brazen to do it in the middle of the day.”
Bridport and Lyme Regis section commander Insp Mike Darby has urged shop owners to be aware of people acting suspiciously in shops.
Insp Darby said: “Clearly this was an opportunist attempt to steal jewellery and luckily the vigilance of the staff at the shop was successful in identifying the offenders committing an offence.
“I urge all shop owners to be aware of people acting suspiciously in their premises and if they believe people are acting in a suspicious manner call police immediately on 999.”
Anyone who witnessed the theft or has any information should contact Dorset Police on 101.