Robber who targeted 85-year-old man in his Derbyshire home is jailed

Matthew Birks
Matthew Birks

A robber who tried to force his way into a house in the middle of the night was fended off by a pensioner who struck him over the head with his walking stick.

Matthew Birks rang the doorbell of a property in Glebe Field Close, Crich, in May this year and then hid near the doorway.

When the 85-year-old occupant answered the door, Birks emerged and tried to force his way in while holding what was believed to have been a knife.

But the victim fought back and hit him over the head twice with his walking stick, forcing 21-year-old Birks to flee empty-handed.

He was later arrested and charged after his fingerprints were found inside the property and traces of his DNA were harvested from the walking stick.

Birks, of Market Place, Crich, was charged with one count of attempted robbery and one of having a bladed article in public.

He admitted both at Derby Crown Court and was last week jailed for three years and eight months.

DC David Oldfield, who led the investigation into the offence, said: “The victim was faced with a man more than 50 years his junior, who was holding a knife and trying to barge into his home in the dead of night.

“He showed inspirational bravery in tackling the offender in what must have been absolutely terrifying circumstances.

“Not only did he manage to quickly reach his walking stick, but he also struck Birks twice to the head and forced him to run off.

“We went to great lengths to identify the would-be robber and this case shows that we have the techniques and technology at our fingertips to find criminals and bring them to justice.

“Thanks to that endeavour, Birks now faces a lengthy spell behind bars.”