'I knew he was a bad one': Super gran Margaret Leese stops Bucknall thief outside Co-op store with her handbag
FEARLESS pensioner Margaret Leese helped police capture a shoplifter – by hitting him with her handbag.
The 77-year-old was on her way to the Co-op store, in Bucknall, for a loaf of bread when she spotted thief Andrew Reece.
Mrs Leese, above, was pushed to the ground as she tried to stop Reece escaping with four bottles of booze.
But Reece then tripped up over the quick-thinking OAP and was arrested by police.
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Mrs Leese, of Woodhead Road, Abbey Hulton, suffered a fractured left wrist, ligament damage and bruising in the incident outside the Werrington Road shop on February 13.
Now 26-year-old Reece, of Burnley Street, Birches Head, is serving a 20-week prison sentence after admitting assaulting Mrs Leese and stealing the alcohol.
Mrs Leese, who cares for her terminally-ill husband Stan, aged 80, said: "We normally get a taxi together everywhere we go, but there was snow on the ground so I told Stan to stay in and I would catch the bus to the doctors.
"On the way back, I was a bit early so decided to nip for a loaf.
"When I got to the shop I saw two police officers who looked like they were waiting for someone. Then I saw a young man coming towards me and I knew instantly it was him they wanted."
Courageous Mrs Leese attempted to stop Reece by hitting him with her handbag and pushing him in the chest only to be knocked over herself.
Mrs Leese added: "He pushed me and I went flat on my back. He gave me quite a bash. He tried to get away but he tripped over me and fell on his face. I was black and blue. I had to have my arm put in a cast, it is still painful now.
"He was stronger than I thought he was going to be and I am just lucky I was wearing my duffel coat so I didn't hurt my head. I don't know why I did it, it was just instinct. I knew he was a bad one who needed to be stopped. Everyone has been really supportive. The police have been wonderful."
Reece was arrested at the scene and jailed at North Staffordshire Justice Centre this week.
Staffordshire Police today praised Mrs Leese for her actions.
Chief Superintendent Bernie O'Reilly, left, said: "Mrs Leese is a wonder woman. She was brave and courageous and I really can't thank her enough for helping my officers arrest this lad. She helped to grab hold of him and we are really grateful for that. Her actions are humbling and inspiring."