BREAKING NEWCASTLE NORTHRUMBRIA

Two postal workers hailed heroes after fighting off hammer-wielding armed robber in Newcastle

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Two post office workers have revealed an armed robber fled their shop with nothing more than “bruises” after he threatened them with a hammer.

Thief Michael Gibson was jailed for 32 months on Wednesday after admitting to the raid at the Post Office in Lemington, Newcastle.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the 39-year-old targeted the premises last October when he burst into the store armed with a hammer.

He threatened staff members Avril Smith and Shelley Hogg and demanded they hand over cash from the till.

But the brave women refused to hand over any money and wrestled the till away from Gibson before he fled empty handed.

The thief was later identified by detectives as being responsible for the terrifying raid and was jailed this week after admitting one count of attempted robbery.

Today (Tuesday) one of the brave postal workers has spoken out about the robbery and said she is glad all Gibson got away with was “bruises”.

Mother-of-two Avril, 58, said: “He came to my counter and said ‘give me your money’ and I just said ‘you’re funny aren’t you’.

“He then brought a hammer out of his pocket and I knew he wasn’t joking at that point but I told him he wasn’t getting anything.

“Me and Shelley were punching him and kicking him but he was trying his damndest to get behind the counter.

“We just kept punching and kicking him and kicking him and tried to push him away and eventually all he got away with were some bruises!

“At the time we were just furious. We weren’t going to let him have any money and we just though ‘who do you think you are doing this’.

“It was very scary but seeing that he has been jailed has made me feel better. The police have been brilliant from the very beginning.

“You never know what you are going to do until you’re put in that situation but I wouldn’t call us heroes, we just reacted.”

Following the case, the detective who helped put Gibson behind bars has also praised the brave postal workers who decided to fight back.

Detective Constable Gareth Welsh, of Northumbria Police, said: “This was a brazen attempt to rob a Post Office and it must have been terrifying for both staff and customers.

“Gibson has brandished a hammer and was making multiple threats to attack those in attendance so he could get his hands on the till.

“But instead of backing down, Avril and Shelley stood up to him, pushed him away and refused to let him get away with any money.

“I have nothing but praise and admiration for the bravery they showed that day and ultimately they have helped us put an armed robber behind bars.”

Gibson, of Portland Road, Sandyford, was also ordered to pay a £190 victim surcharge.