hero takes on robber

Cresta Gems heanor, John Phillis with carl Otterwell who chased after the thief.
Cresta Gems heanor, John Phillis with carl Otterwell who chased after the thief.
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A HAVE-A-GO-HERO who chased a knife-wielding raider during a robbery at a Heanor jewellery shop has been hailed as brilliant.

Carl Ottewell, from Loscoe, was in Cresta Gems on Ray Street with his sister on Saturday at 3.45pm when the robber pulled out a knife and fled with a £1,100 gold necklace.

The raider smashed a security lock on the shop door on the way out, but Mr Ottewell gave chase, running after the man who threatened him with a serrated six-inch blade.

Mr Ottewell, 42, said: “I never thought about anything to be honest. At the end of the day I just wanted to catch the guy. He was doing wrong.

“I caught up with him outside Boots and was running alongside him telling him to drop his knife.

“I cornered him where the Market Hotel is.

“He lunged at me and I went to pick something up to defend myself. Then I chased him down to Johnson Avenue.”

The self-employed plumbing and heating engineer had removed his coat in the shop when he thought there was going to be trouble – and his mobile phone was inside it.

Unable to call the police, he ran to a friend’s nearby house and commandeered a van to continue the pursuit.

Mr Ottewell had been in the shop with his sister Sharon to buy a chain for their mother who is ill.

He said: “I understand that it was dangerous, but you just do what your instincts tell you.”

Shop manager John Phyllis, who was in the store with his colleague Wendy Mitchell, watched the robber try on several gold chains and then activated a security locking system which trapped him in the shop.

Mr Phyllis, 49, of Heanor, said: “I thought he looked a bit dubious so we made sure that the front door was locked and he couldn’t get out.

He pulled out the knife and demanded that I open the door. I told him I wouldn’t.

“We have been robbed a few times before. I saw red and thought, ‘There’s no way he’s getting out of this shop with the jewellery!’.

“With gold prices the way they are we’re a prime target.

“We have three shops and we’ve been robbed four times in the past year.

“Mr Ottewell was brilliant. He never once gave a thought for himself.”

Stephen Brimble, who owns Cresta Gems, has written to Derbyshire’s Chief Constable to commend Mr Ottewell for his bravery and thank officers involved in the case.

He said: “The police officers reacted immediately, and their service was outstanding, especially the officer on the scene and the crime scene investigator.

“The staff at the Heanor store were shocked but very brave and acted in a very professional manner, alerting police immediately.”

A man appeared at South Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with robbery and possession of a knife and was remanded in custody.