June 4 2014
– A stoic 84-year-old shopkeeper dispatched two armed robbers from his store – describing them as ‘a couple of rank amateurs’.
Dennis Trounce was in the back office when he heard a noise in the shop in Penarth, in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, just before 9pm last Sunday.
He said: ‘I came out an saw two men behind the counter trying to get into the till, without success.
‘One of them said: “Give us the money,” to which I replied, sarcastically, “Yes, of course”.
‘One of them said he had a knife and I asked to see it. He started patting his pockets to try to and find it, but couldn’t.’
In fact, Mr Trounce who has been running the Spar store for 25 years, did not realise that the robbers actually did have a knife until he saw the shop’s CCTV footage of the raid later on.
Mr Trounce, who was hit on the left arm when he refused to hand over any cash, smashing his watch and bruising his wrist, continued: ‘I could see that they were either as couple of rank amateurs, or terminally stupid.
‘I started to crowd them towards the door and noticed that one of them – the taller of the two who didn’t speak – had a pack of 200 cigarettes in his hand.
‘I continued to ease them out of the door and shut it. I realised he still had the cigarettes and so opened it again. He fell back into the shop and dropped the cigarettes. I then shut him out again.’
Mr Trounce was helped by his son, Mark, and a shop assistant.
He added: ‘I have been in this business for 25 years. They were dressed to look fearsome with masks but actually they were just a couple of kids.
‘If they are more than 19 or 20 years old I’ll be surprised. They were unimpressive specimens.
‘At first I thought they were dressed up for a fancy dress party. I was a bit startled at first, but I wasn’t too bothered.’
After ushering the raiders from the store, Mr Trounce’s son, Mark called South Wales Police, who sent three cars and the force helicopter.
Mr Trounce said: ‘The police arrived mob handed and did a good job.’
Mr Trounce joined police in a search of the area. The men are still at large. Mr Trounce later went to the police station to make a statement.
Detective Sergeant David Thomas, said: ‘This was a terrifying experience for the staff. We would like to hear from anyone who hasn’t yet spoken with officers who were in the Spar shop or in the nearby area and witnessed what happened’.
Customers have rallied round Mr Trounce, who is a popular figure in the town. Mr Trounce’s son, Mark, said: ‘I am proud of my father, but I was a bit worried because it could have gone completely the other way.
‘I was in the toilet when it started and when I came out I could see them taking a swipe at him before he bundled them out.
‘He is not the fighting type, but he certainly won’t back down. Everyone knows and likes him around here.’
He added: ‘I thought about chasing after them after he had put them outside. But unfortunately I’m not as fast as I was.’
– Sam Webb