Florist foils hammer raid

Jo Baldasera and Bev Binks, right, who saw off a would be burglar from the Bev's Wild at Heart florist and gift shop in Hetton.

Jo Baldasera and Bev Binks, right, who saw off a would be burglar from the Bev's Wild at Heart florist and gift shop in Hetton.

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A FLORIST today told how she fought off a hammer-wielding man who tried to rob her.

Bev Binks was hit by the attacker when he tried to steal money from her shop Wild at Heart.

The man burst in and swore at Mrs Binks and her colleague Jo Baldasera, before demanding cash from the till.

The 46-year-old businesswoman said: “He said ‘Give me your money’ and put the hammer above his head.

“I threw a cup at him and he smashed all the glasses off the table.

“I moved forward and that’s when he hit me with the hammer on my leg.”

The would-be raider ran off empty handed towards Railway Street.

It is the second time since Wild at Heart opened eight weeks ago that is has been targeted by thieves.

Flowers used for a display outside the shop, in Front Street, Hetton, were stolen recently.

“It’s been a nightmare,” added Mrs Binks.

“The people round here have been lovely since we opened and the feedback has been great.

“I’ve donated to Hetton School for their Tanzania appeal and done things for the church, too.

“But this has really knocked us with being a new business.”

John McMurchie, who owns and runs a butcher’s shop opposite Wild at Heart, said: “The police came to see us but at the time we didn’t see anything.”

Mrs Binks and Ms Baldasera are now working around the clock to ensure the orders they have taken are fulfilled after they fell behind.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the attack, which took place at 3.10pm on Tuesday, to come forward.

The man was about 5ft 5in tall, stocky build with ginger/blond hair.

He wore a woolly hat, a blue jacket and a beige coloured Burberry style scarf over his face.

Anyone with information should call Northumbria Police on 03456 043 043 ext 69191 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

l A 32-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of robbery.

He has been bailed and Northumbria Police say inquiries into the attempted robbery are ongoing.

Twitter: @davidallison88

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