A dim-witted thief who tried to rob a butcher’s shop armed with a hatchet ended up fleeing from a brave staff member who grabbed a meat cleaver.
The clueless masked robber got more than he bargained for when he targeted Templeton’s Butchers in Carnmoney as staff were preparing to close for the day.
Instead of handing over any cash, quick-thinking Jonny Blaney grabbed one of the cleavers from behind the counter and gave chase to the hapless crook.
The 23-year-old from Ballymena told Sunday Life: “It was about 5.30pm and we were getting the shop ready to close up for the night.
“I was out the shop front alone at the time, around the front of the counter cleaning the glass when I saw a guy standing there with a balaclava and a hatchet.
“He started waving it at me and shouting for me to give him the money.
“To be honest, my first reaction was to ask whether he was joking but he said he was serious.
“He threatened me with the knife and kept telling me to hand over the money.”
Mr Blaney made his way around to the till and started to pull out some of the notes.
But he saw red when the thug threatened his colleague, 73-year-old Carl Connelly, who walked in on the attempted robbery.
“We were lifting fivers out of the till to try and put him off but he was really aggressive and was shouting and banging the counter,” said the have-a-go hero.
“So I grabbed a meat cleaver and told him that if he wanted the money he would have to come and get it.
“He just ran out the door and I went after him but he got away.
“I don’t have any regrets except that I didn’t catch him. I don’t know what kind of idiot robs a butcher’s but he picked on the wrong person, I’m from Ballymena and I don’t like to give away money.”
The attempted robbery happened the last Thursday before Christmas and was not reported to police. Mr Blaney’s boss and proprietor of the shop Robin Templeton paid tribute to his employees’ bravery.
“Of course I am glad he didn’t get the money but I am more pleased that no-one got hurt,” he said.
“When I got the phone call telling me what happened, the first thing I wanted to know was that everyone was all right.”