A HAVE-A-GO hero who rugby-tackled a robber in a busy shopping street last night described how he pinned the suspect to the ground.
Former police officer Rremzi Skepi picked up a metal sign and hurled it at one of the suspects before being knocked down by another on a motorbike.
But he managed to jump up, tackle the robber and pin him to the ground – keeping him there for seven minutes until police arrived.
Mr Skepi, who is Albanian, was one of the first on the scene after Michael Jones Jewellers in Banbury was raided on Tuesday, September 11.
The 55-year-old was in Lloyds Bank when he heard a commotion outside and saw people running away in fright.
At first, the Trousdale Bakery Company employee, who speaks little English, didn’t realise the jewellers in Banbury High Street was being raided.
But he leapt into action when he heard women and children screaming and saw suspects on motorbikes.
Speaking through interpreter Xhetan Bushi, of Bar Roma in Cowley Road, Oxford, Mr Skepi said: “They were scaring women and children with their wild revving.
“When I was walking by to see what was happening one of the motorbike riders swore at me and said ‘I’m going to kill you’.”
Mr Skepi said he then picked up a metal A-board from a nearby shop and hurled it at one of the riders, hitting him on the helmet and causing his motorbike to swerve.
At that point a second motorbike struck Mr Skepi, causing him to fall to the floor.
It was only then he realised the jewellery shop was being raided.
Then, as the second motorcycle rider tried to escape, he fell off his bike.
Former Albanian police officer Mr Skepi, who was in the force for 12 years, struggled to his feet and jumped on the man, pinning him down.
Mr Skepi, who has lived in Banbury for eight years, added: “I feared for my life as I was the only one who was holding him down.”
The other suspects then fled the scene.
A bag containing some of the stolen items was recovered at the scene A member of the public took Mr Skepi to hospital, where doctors found he had suffered a fractured left leg after being struck by the bike.
He is now back at home but is using crutches to help get around.
Jimmy Stringer of Maryland Walk, Popham Street, Islington, appeared at Oxford Crown Court last Monday and admitted one count of robbery.
The 23-year-old was remanded in custody and told to expect a lengthy prison term when he is sentenced on November 9.
Three other men were arrested after the raid and will answer police bail on October 21.