A RETIRED policeman, who helped capture William Smith as he fled Friar House, has spoken out about the incident for the first time.
Bob Delo, 65, told the Observer how he rugby tackled Smith to the ground and, along with other members of the public, held on to him until the police arrived.
Bob has numerous health issues, including serious kidney problems, a bad leg caused by polio and is currently on the Hospital waiting list for a new ankle.
But despite all this, Bob’s instinct took over when he realised what was going on.
Bob served as a police constable in Leicester for around 20 years before moving to Rochester in Kent, four years ago.
On the day of the robbery, he and his wife were driving to Brighton when they decided to stop at Battle for a cup of tea - the first time Bob had ever been to the town.
Bob said: “We were looking in the display window at Friar House and the postman walked across the road.
“He tapped the door and shouted out and she let him in.
“As we walked past the open shop door, the alarm went off and the woman started screaming.
“A young man in his 30s jumped out of a car and shouted ‘they’re robbing the jewellers’.
“As soon as he heard the alarm go off, he was out the door like a rocket.
“As his dad was getting out of the car, he (Holder) shoulder barged him and knocked him over.
“The wife and I said ‘that man has bust his leg’.”
As Smith left the jewellers, Bob and the man who leapt out the car rushed to capture him.
Bob said: “This lad grabbed him round the neck, I rugby tackled him and that was him.
“The police officer jumped out the car and I said ‘you cuff him mate and we’ll let him go’.
“There were three of us holding him down and he was bleeding.”
He added: “I said ‘lock the door - it’s a crime scene so you do not want anyone going in here’.
“We spent three hours at the nick because I had his blood on me and they needed to have the DNA matched.
“My wife said ‘it’s the last time I take you out - you’re too old for all that rolling about’.”