Hero Shopkeeper

A knife-wielding robber was jailed after a hero storekeeper beat him over the head with a set of stepladders.

Natvar Patel and his wife Hasumati in their shop in Wolverhampton

37-year-old Ben Blackmore burst into a shop demanding cash and cigarettes whilst waving a ten-inch blade at the shopkeeper.

The court was told that he threatened a frightened 62-year-old Hasumati Patel, who immediately notified her husband 65-year-old Natvar Patel who was in a back room of the shop.

Dad of two, Mr Patel picked up a set of aluminium stepladders and hit Blackmore over the head as he sprung forward with the knife.

Blackmore fled Parkfield Stores, in Wolverhampton with a pack of cigarettes.

Extraordinarily, Mr Patel raced after Blackmore, following him outside the shop. He then picked up a friend in his car before finding the thief at a nearby bus stop.

The pair rang 999 and the police reached the scene within minutes. They arrested Blackmore who was still in possession of the knife and stolen cigarettes.

Blackmore pleaded guilty to robbery and was jailed for two years and eight months at Birmingham Crown Court.

Grandad-of-two Mr Patel, who has run the shop with his wife for 35 years, said: “I was in the back and I went rushing out when I heard the security buzzer.

“I could see the man standing with the knife in his hand and I shouted: ‘What the f*** do you want?’

“He wanted money so I said: ‘Okay I will go and get you the money’.

“I went out the back and picked up the ladders from the room behind the shop and raced at him with them.

Natvar Patel with his set of step ladders
Natvar Patel with his set of step ladders

“I was pushing him and trying to get the knife and he kept backing off.

“He turned towards the door and I whacked him over the back of the head and he ran off.

“Then I chased him in my car and we found him about ten minutes’ walk away at the bus stop.

“We were on the phone to the police and they turned up and arrested him.

“He only had a pack of cigarettes from us so he has paid a high price for them.

“I have no regrets, I would do it again to protect my shop.”

His wife Mrs Patel said she was unaccompanied behind the till when the robber entered the shop and requested a pack of cigarettes.

She added: “He looked just like a normal customer and he asked for a pack of ten cigarettes.

“I asked for the £3.90 and he took out the knife from his pocket. He told me to open the till and said he wanted money.

“I managed to press the buzzer to call for help and my husband came out quickly from the back.

“He was pushing the man with the ladders and managed to get him to run outside.

“It was all over in 45 seconds but I was so scared. My husband is a hero.

“I told him not to do it next time but he said why should we give him the money. We are glad he has been sent to jail.”


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