A Newtownabbey butcher has saved his store’s bacon after fending off a hatchet-wielding robber who aimed to make off with their takings.
Ballymena man Jonny Blaney, who works in Templeton’s butchers on the Carnmoney Road, saw off the would-be criminal in an incident which took place shortly before Christmas.
The have-a-go-hero’s bravery has only recently come to light after customers at the store spread word of his exploits.
Recalling the incident, Jonny, who has worked at the butcher’s for almost two years, told The Times: “It was the week before Christmas and it was coming up to 5.30pm.
“We had the counter read out and I was at the customer side, cleaning the glass, when I looked round and saw this boy at the door wearing a balaclava
“The next thing I knew, he was in the store shouting ‘Give me the money!’ and he had a big hatchet.
“I asked him if he was serious and he came at me with the hatchet, cursing and shouting.”
Jonny’s work colleague, 73-year-old Carl Connolly, was also in the store at the time and he too was threatened by the masked man.
Jonny continued: “We went to the till and Carl started lifting fivers out to put him off. All the while the man was hitting the counter.
“We thought he was going to smash the glass and at one stage we thought he would come over the counter.”
However, instead of handing over the money, Jonny took matters into his own hands. He revealed: “I lifted the meat cleaver and said ‘If you want that money, come and get it!
“Then he ran out of the shop and up the street. I ran after him but I couldn’t get him.
“It wasn’t heroism or bravery, I was angry. It wound me up that we were standing there working all week and that boy came in and thought he would take off with all the money.”
While Jonny successfully prevented the would-be robber from stealing the store’s takings, he acknowledges that the situation could have taken a dangerous turn.
He commented: “There’s no point getting hurt. Afterwards we thought he could have thrown the hatchet at us. It was all spur of the moment.”
The store did not report the incident to the police.
Paying tribute to his employees, store owner Robin Templeton commented: “I would like to thank Jonny for defending the business but my main concern was that they were alright. I would rather they gave him the money rather than take the chance of getting hurt.
“We have had a few robberies in this area over the years but this was one of the more violent ones.”