An armed thug who tried to raid an off-licence was stopped in his tracks when a have-a-go hero shop keeper sliced his EAR off – with a broom handle, a court heard.
Leigh Garnett, 40, was forced to have plastic surgery to fix the top of his left ear following his failed burglary attempt at the shop when he came to blows with the shop worker.
But the lug-less robber will miss his next hospital appointment – after being jailed for three years.
Sheffield Crown Court, South Yorks., heard how Garnett barged into the store in nearby Rotherham, lunged over the counter and demanded money.
But the shopkeeper fought him off with a broom handle and a customer attempted attempted to lock him in the shop.
Knife-wielding Garnett then managed to escape but later handed himself into police saying: “I’m desperate – I need to go to prison to get off drugs.”
Matthew Wain, prosecuting, said Garnett had made “persistent advances with the knife” to try to get to the cash.
The shop worker who tackled him said in a victim impact statement he had been left “extremely frightened”.
“I have been extremely frightened by this incident, I have suffered a loss of sleep and peace because of it.”
“I’m scared he or his associates will come back to get me.”
Anthony Supamani, 40, said he wrestled with Leigh Garnett for “what felt like hours” and hopes crooks will be wary not to cross him again if they think corner shops are an easy target.
Speaking about the ordeal, Anthony, of Rotherham, South Yorks., said: “It quite scary – it was only my third day in the job.
“It was quite late in the evening, about 8pm-ish maybe, and I was lent over the counter waiting to serve customers.
“Then the robber came at me with the small pocket knife – it was about six inches long.
“I was frightened – but I quickly reacted and picked up the nearest thing I had and we wrestled for what felt like hours. It was only about a few minutes though.
“I was hitting him with the broom handle and I caught his ear.
“Blood was spurting out everywhere and his ear was just lying on the floor.
“He then ran out of the shop and dropped the tobacco he was holding – with a trail of blood following him.
“The police were called and 20 mins later an officer came to collect the ear.”
Mr Supamani moved up to Rotherham from London in July of this year to become shop keeper of Booze Plus.
Anthony, who is single, did not suffer any wounds during the incident and said crooks wanting to rob his corner shop will have to think twice before committing crimes in his store.
“Attackers will be twice as wise to cross me next time – and think they can come in here and take what they want.
“I am pleased he [Garnett] has been jailed.”
Asked what he thought about being hailed a hero, he said: “No, that’s not me. I just do my job here.”
The dramatic attempted robbery, captured on CCTV, showed a customer locking Garnett in the shop before he grabbed packets of tobacco which he dropped before fleeing.
But around an hour after the raid on July 15 of this year – Garnett confessed his crimes to police and said he needed to be sent to prison because of his drug addiction – fearing he would “end up dead”.
Andrew Walker, defending Garnett, said: “He felt he needed locking to save him from his drug addiction which he said would kill him if he carried on.
“He has used his time since the incident to access help and he is now on methadone.”
Mr Walker added Garnett “would now miss walking his sister down the aisle at her wedding” after their father passed away recently.
Jailing Garnett for three years, the Judge Recorder Margia Mostafa said the incident at the Booze Plus outlet had been “extremely frightening”.
Garnett, of Rotherham, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of a bladed weapon.
Garnett blew a kiss to his family as he was led away to the cells.