Armed thug’s robbery plot at South Yorkshire shop was foiled when owner confronted him with vacuum attachment

The attempted robbery took place at Claypit News, Claypit Lane, Rawmarsh on July 31 this year. Picture: Google Maps.
The attempted robbery took place at Claypit News, Claypit Lane, Rawmarsh on July 31 this year. Picture: Google Maps.

The courageous owner of South Yorkshire newsagents foiled an armed thug’s attempt to rob the shop when she fended him off with an attachment from a vacuum cleaner. 

A team of two women were behind the counter at Claypit News in Claypit Lane, Rawmarsh, Rotherham, when prolific criminal, Ashley Senior, entered the premises armed with a Stanley knife on July 22 this year. 

“He went into the shop, and pointed the knife at both complainants. He said: ‘Give me the f****** money, I’m desperate’,” Susan Evans, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court. 

She added: “The shop owner had the piece of mind to fend him off with a vacuum cleaner attachment.”

This led to Senior, 25, deciding against the robbery and running off, before getting into his car and driving away. 

But the same woman who had taken him on with a vacuum cleaner attachment refused to let him get away that easily, and began following him in her car. 

Her quick thinking led to the police apprehending him a short time later. 

Senior pleaded guilty to charges of attempted robbery and possession of a bladed article at an earlier hearing. 

In a victim impact statement read out in court, the woman who fended Senior off said: “I’m angry that people can come into my shop and threaten me and my staff with knives. We work hard to earn money, and it’s a disgrace that someone could take it from us.”

Ms Evans told the court that Senior has 22 previous convictions, which include offences of robbery and attempted robbery.

Addressing Judge Peter Kelson QC, Senior read a prepared letter, saying: “I am very sorry for trying to rob the shop, and for the shock I put them through.”

James Baird, defending, said: “He was clearly struggling to read what he’s written, and I ask Your Honour to take into consideration that he is remorseful.”

Mr Baird added: “While this offence was extremely frightening for the victims, it was relatively short-lived. When he was confronted with the vacuum attachment he left.”

Judge Peter Kelson jailed Senior for four years during today’s hearing.

“I’m astonished by the courage of your victim, and then what was even more remarkable is she followed you in her vehicle to assist in your apprehension,” said Judge Kelson. 

Referring to the letter read by Senior, he added: “They [the complainants] believe Senior to be a monster, but he could barely read out his letter. He is a serious criminal, but he is also very sorry for his senior criminality.”