Wednesday, October 24, 2007


He was carrying a gun with intent to rob. She was behind the till at a Tesco petrol station. With the odds so heavily in his favour the gunman must have thought the next few seconds would be a breeze. He had not, however, allowed for the formidable Linda Faulkner.

Instead of surrendering the £15 cash from her till, the 51-year-old turned to the raider and told him she was too busy to deal with him. "I just got on with it," she said. "British people don't stop work just because someone is trying to bully us with guns."

Yesterday David Collinson, 42, was beginning a seven-year jail sentence after he was convicted of robbery at Gloucester Crown Court. Judge Martin Picton paid tribute to Miss Faulkner with a £200 court award and told her she had shown ' remarkable courage' in standing up to the armed raider.

Jurors heard that Collinson walked into the petrol station in Cheltenham at around 8pm on February 12 and put a chocolate bar on the counter in front of cashier Hayley Holder. But instead of pulling out his wallet to pay he produced a red drawstring bag, told her he had a gun and ordered her to fill the bag with money.

Brendon Moorhouse, prosecuting, said: "He then placed down what appeared to be a gun. Miss Holder started to do what he told her and put the notes from the till into the bag. Then when he pointed the gun at her, she started to put £1 and £2 coins into the bag. He added, 'The other till as well', pointing to Linda Faulkner's till."

But when Miss Holder went over to her colleague, Miss Faulkner flatly refused to put her till money in the red bag. Miss Faulkner, a mother of one, said: "Hayley came over to me with this red bag and said, 'You've got to put money into it'.

"I said, 'Whatever for?' She said, 'Because there's a man with a gun'. I said, 'I'm sorry, he'll have to wait, because I'm busy'. At the same time I thought I'd better press the panic button. I just carried on serving and ignored the man. I was just absolutely numb.

"The man was wearing a blue baseball cap and he had big Rosemary West-style glasses on. He was just stood there waiting. Then I felt someone behind me, touching me. He grabbed the red bag that was still there. I said, 'You can't take it. You can't have it'. He said, 'Oh yes, I can'. I let him have the bag, because I wasn't sure if the gun he had was real or not."

Miss Faulkner, who worked at the store for four years, said: "It was very stressful looking back and I've since left the job. "I was going to thump him, but I thought twice because it may well have been a real gun. Anyone that knows me, knows that I would."

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