A FEARLESS St Leonards shopkeeper dashed out of his jewellery store to tackle an axe-wielding raider trying to smash his way through the front window in broad daylight.
Matt Johnson, 41, was serving a customer the Peridot jewellery shop in London Road when he heard a unique smashing noise.
“I’d heard the noise twice before and knew exactly what was happening,” said Matt, whose father Mark owns the business. “I dashed out the front and saw this guy dressed in black in a hood smashing the window.
“I just kneed him in the side and slipped on the glass in the process.
“He caught the side of my glasses with the axe and fell into the road. He could’ve took my head off. My dad then whacked one of them with a baseball bat. We gave chase but they ran off up the steps.”
The drama unfolded around 4.30pm on Thursday in a busy shopping street.
CCTV footage from nearby stores shows three men in black running to the front of the store. One had an axe and started chopping at the window before he is knocked to the ground by Matt, who is a director of the business.
The three ran then off up steps leading to Alfred Road and jumped into a waiting black car which sped off.
Matt, who took up Aikido six months ago, said: “I did not give a thought to my own safety.
“I was not worried until I saw the axe coming to my face. I was well shook up after.
“It was a silly move to go and confront them but we work hard to do what we do.
“We’re not going to put up with it. We’ve had it before and put up a stand. I told my wife I wouldn’t do it again last night but I probably would.
“Because I didn’t think about it. If I’d thought about it I would’ve grabbed the bat first to defend myself but in a split second it just didn’t happen.
“I think going to Aikido has given me more confidence for sure. I’ve only been doing it for six months and it’s more about controlloing a situation.
“I just want to thank all those local people and customers who rallied around us. It really means a lot because there’s a lot of good people here in St Leonards.”
Police carried out an immediate search of the area and have appealed for anyone who saw what happened or who has other information to come forward.
Detective inspector Rob Morland of Hastings CID, said: “It was fortunate that no one was hurt.” Witnesses can phone 101, quoting 1102 of 24/10.