Tyne & Wear

Newcastle great-grandmother fends off burglar with back scratcher

Joyce Ross Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Joyce Ross said she would probably do the same thing again

A great-grandmother who chased a burglar out of her home with a back scratcher has been praised by police.

Joyce Ross was in her ground-floor flat in Denmark Street, Newcastle, when she heard the male intruder enter through the unlocked front door.

When he refused to leave, the 73-year-old armed herself with a wooden back scratcher and screamed "get out".

Northumbria Police said the great-grandmother-of-four acted with "great courage and composure".

Mrs Ross was treated for a small cut to her head sustained in a brief struggle with the man.

She later discovered a canvas handbag had been taken in the Monday evening break-in.

'Easy target'

Mrs Ross, who has lived in the property for 18 years, said: "He was just standing there and was off his face.

"I asked what he wanted but he just mumbled. I just kept shouting 'get out, get out, get out'.

"I picked up my back scratcher and tried to hit him. We started to scuffle and he pushed me. That's when I hit my head on the door frame.

"Eventually I managed to push him out.

"It still hasn't sunk in, I just need to unwind and settle down but I do think I would do the same thing again.

"He obviously thought I was an easy target but now he knows I'm not."

'Opportunist thief'

Det Sgt Tony Scott said: "Joyce showed great courage to stand up to the man and force him from her home.

"We are making sure she is safe and supported but I want to praise her for her actions.

"We would never advocate people to confront a burglar, but Joyce kept her composure and removed an opportunist thief from her home.

"This intruder has targeted a pensioner thinking that she may be an easy target but she was more than a match for him and he's fled."

The man is white, thin, about 6ft 2in tall and in his early 40s with short, light brown hair.

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