An 82-year-old man wielding a bag of shopping has driven an armed robber from a village post office. George Smith hit the man twice with a bag containing an iceberg lettuce and bottles of bleach and washing liquid.
The masked raider, who had a shotgun, fled from the shop in Speldhurst, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, leaving the takings untouched. Police praised Mr Smith for his bravery, but did not recommend other people followed his actions.
Officers are linking the attempted robbery to three other raids in the area since 7 April. They include raids on a nature reserve and fish farm in Hawkhurst, Kent, and a One-Stop shop in Sidley, East Sussex.
Mr Smith was in the Speldhurst post office just before 1300 BST on Friday.
Det Insp John Claydon said a man aged in his 20s walked in, armed with a shotgun and with his face covered by a hood and a dust mask.
"Before he had a chance to say anything at all, this elderly gentleman whacked him with a carrier bag which had a lettuce amongst other things in it," Det Insp Claydon said. "Bearing in mind his age, I can do nothing but congratulate him for what he did. But obviously from a police perspective we wouldn't be looking to encourage people to act as George did."
Mr Smith himself said his actions were "entirely automatic".
"The best method of defence is attack - so I did. I whacked him in the face and then I clobbered him again. He ran off down to the corner still with the gun pointing my way. I took a couple of paces towards him and told him to clear off. And he did."
Police said the armed man fled along Barden Road.