Would-be thief dressed as delivery man given the shove by Jedburgh pensioner
A 79-year-old Jedburgh woman fought off a masked would-be thief pretending to be a delivery driver, saying afterwards: “He bit off more than he could chew.”
Ann Booth, boss of the Maple Bank bed-and-breakfast in the town’s Smith’s Wynd, was doing a crossword in her garden when she was approached by a man wearing a high-visibility vest and face mask last Thursday at 3.20pm.
He asked her to sign for a parcel for a neighbour before trying to force her into her home and demanding that she hand over money.
However, Ann says the man got more than he bargained for.
“I looked up and there he was looking like a delivery driver with a box in his hand,” she said.
“He asked me to go inside and lend him a pen, but I already had one. I turned to pick it up and by the time I did, he had dashed ahead and pushed me forward, so I pushed him off.
“He told me to get inside the house, and I was not going anywhere. I asked what he wanted and he told me money.
“I gave him another great shove because by now I was really annoyed.
“I am glad it was me and not somebody more vulnerable he targeted. It would have been quite a shock for them as the idea was so plausible.
“I have been held at gunpoint twice when I lived in Africa so that prepared me for anything. I was indignant. I can hear me yet insisting I was not going into my house.
“I think he bit off more than he could chew. He thought I was a little old lady.”
Originally from Yorkshire, Ann, who has one son in Cornwall, lived across world with her late engineer husband, working a variety of jobs from stewardess to goat girl, before settling in Jedburgh 30 years ago.
“Everyone has been really good sharing their concern, and the police are being very thorough,” she added.
“I’m quite a level person and have been out in the garden every day since.”
The suspect is described as white, 5ft 8in tall and aged in his 50s. As well as a vest and mask, he was wearing a black top, black trousers and a dark beanie-style hat.
Detective constable Sandy Blacklock, of Galashiels police station, is asking anyone with dashcam or security camera footage to come forward.
He said: “This was a despicable attempt to rob a lady who was sitting outside at her property. Fortunately, she was able to stand her ground and push the man away.
“Although not physically hurt, this has left her feeling very upset.”
“The man approached from the Queen Street area of the town and left in the same direction. “His appearance was quite distinctive and we are appealing to anyone who saw him to get in touch.
“Anyone who was driving in the area at the time and who may have dash-cam footage that can assist with our enquiries is also asked to get in touch. Likewise, anyone with CCTV that may show something is requested to make contact with officers.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, quoting incident number 2,533 of May 7.