An armed robber who walked into a Blackpool jewellers and threatened staff got the shock of his life when one detained him by performing a citizen’s arrest.
Police said the raider, who had armed himself with a hammer was tackled by a have a go hero as he stormed Nathan and Co jewellers and pawnbrokers, in Cedar Square, Blackpool at 5pm yesterday.
The brave shop assistant suffered injuries while trying to restrain the would-be robber, police said.
He was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for treatment but his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
Detectives were alerted to the incident after a member of staff triggered an alarm that not only sounded but sent smoke billowing out into the shop.
A member of staff at nearby Warwick’s Amusements, said she had been shocked to see the incident unfolded outside her workplace.
She said: “The first thing I knew of the incident was when smoke began pouring out of the building into the street.
“I just saw lots of smoke and a guy getting put into the back of a van by police.
“There was so much smoke – I had to shut the door.
“The owner actually came down thinking it was on fire.”
Last night Nathan and Co jewellers, which includes the adjoining pawnbrokers, was cordoned of by police who were still inside taking witness statements hours later.
The Gazette understands the would-be robber targeted the pawnshop part of the business, signposted as North West Pawnbrokers.
Shoppers expressed their ‘shock’ and dismay at the attempted robbery in broad daylight in the middle of Blackpool.
One shopper said: “It is scary to think that such a crime could take place so close to where I work and do my shopping.”
Sara Batey, who works in Blackpool town centre, said she couldn’t believe what had happened.
She said: “It’s not fair – there’s children around at that time. We don’t know what’s going on. We had people trying to steal stuff from the shop today.
“We finished work at 5.45pm and the police were already here.”
However, one shopper said he was no longer surprised by anything that happened in the town centre.
He said: “It’s becoming normal, isn’t it? It’s what it’s coming to.
“You’re getting people’s money stopped and disability stopped – people are going to get pushed into crime. But I don’t agree with it, mind.”
Another passer-by added; “It’s shocking – it was in broad daylight.”
Police confirmed an 18-year-old man had been arrested following the incident and he was due to be interviewed by officers today.
A police spokesman said: “We were alerted to an armed robbery at Nathan and Co jewellers in Blackpool where a man entered the shop and threatened staff with a hammer.
“A member of staff has been injured while trying to detain the thief.”
Det Sgt Chris Sanderson, who is now leading the investigation said it was “still in the very early stages” and police were still piecing together the facts last night.
He added: “A member of staff has been injured while the incident has been going on.
“A man has gone in armed with a weapon and made threats to the staff and then a member of staff has ended up injured.
“A man has been detained by staff in the shop for a matter of minutes.”