Cafe owner fights off armed raider


Cafe owner Angie Masters was bruised but defiant this week after fighting off an armed raider and ripping the balaclava from his head.

That forced the retreat of the offender, who carried a meat cleaver into the premises, used her first name when ordering her to drop a telephone and then tried to rob her.

The raider grappled with Angie, 46, pushed her head through a window, punching her face and body, then pulling her hair. But she fought back and forced him out of Tasty Snacks, Hallam Fields Road, Ilkeston.

She whacked him twice over the head with a drain-clearing rod and bit one of his fingers before managing to remove his balaclava for a few seconds.

“I thought it was someone pratting about, especially because he used my name. I thought it was some friend who was about to take off the balaclava and I’d realise it was a laugh.

“Then he had a right go at me and must have thought I would hand something over to him. He thought wrong.

“I would not have been cowed and let him take anything. He pushed me against the fridge and punched me two or three times.

“He panicked over the balaclava and that’s what made him leave. But even then, he just walked out and across the road,” said Angie. The attempted robbery took place at around 12.35pm on Friday.

Most of the attack took place in the rear kitchen, where she was working alone. No customers were present in the eating area at the front of the cafe.

Detective sergeant Jim Shinfield said: “This was a nasty assault and was only through the bravery of Angie that this offender was deterred.

“This is a residential area and we would like to hear from anyone who saw someone removing facial cover. Other people may know someone with unexplained injuries.”

The offender is white and around 6ft, at least six inches taller than Angie. He has short-cropped mousy blond or brown hair and a local accent. He wore a pale grey hoodie with the hood down and dark tracksuit bottoms.

During the initial part of the incident, Angie was unaware he was armed with the meat cleaver. She only noticed that as he began to leave. A passer-by saw him enter with the weapon but mistakenly thought it was a practical joke.

Derbyshire police can be contacted on 101 and callers should ask for Ilkeston CID. After the incident, the man walked towards the new flats and houses across the road.

Angie is offering a £500 reward for information which leads to the conviction of the offender. She was left with a bruised body, cuts around the right eye and spent days in pain - but insisted on opening the cafe as usual on Saturday.

She hopes he may have dropped the balaclava and that somebody will find it and hand it to police. Angie said: “It could have my DNA as well as his on it and bits of my hair.

“I used to enjoy boxing when I went to the gym a few years ago and plan to start again. I also aim to do martial arts,” added Angie who attends pilates classes. She is stepping up security with anti-crime cameras and other equipment at the cafe, which is in the former Co-op shop.