Brave have-a-go hero fights off raiders at Knaresborough cash point

Billy Hatfield was withdrawing money from a cash machine in Knaresborough High Street when a gang or robbers pulled up in a BMW with no number plates.
Billy Hatfield was withdrawing money from a cash machine in Knaresborough High Street when a gang or robbers pulled up in a BMW with no number plates.

A 58-year-old father who tackled a violent robber has been awarded £500 by a Crown Court judge for his astonishing bravery.

Billy Hatfield was withdrawing money from a cash machine in Knaresborough High Street when a gang or robbers pulled up in a BMW with no number plates.

One of the thugs, wearing a balaclava, got out and attacked Mr Hatfield, punching him in the head which caused him to fall back.

The robber tried to get the money off Mr Hatfield who would not let go and even tried to detain the lout, who ended up fleeing empty-handed back to the getaway car.

Mr Hatfield then ran over to the car as it drove off and clung on to the door handle for as long as he could. The car sped off in front of horrified shoppers.

Mr Hatfield said: "I have to admit I was more annoyed than scared, but I was left feeling that it was so surreal. This was a Friday evening and traffic was at a standstill. You just don’t expect it to happen here in Knaresborough."

The robber’s car rammed a police vehicle during the getaway but he was later arrested and given a prison sentence.

Several police officers received awards for their part in the operation which finally nailed the robber.

Judge Paul Batty QC, who sentenced the robber, also arranged for Mr Hatfield to be rewarded for his bravery in standing up to the thug.

On Wednesday at York Crown Court, the Knaresborough man was awarded £500 from public funds.

The award was presented by the Mayor of York, Barbara Boyce, in the presence of judges Mr Batty and Andrew Stubbs QC who wore special ceremonial robes and wigs. Members of The Bar, Probation Service and court staff were also in attendance. Mr Batty said: "This court salutes the bravery of Mr Billy Hatfield." The have-a-go hero, who was accompanied by his daughter, works as a production supervisor at the Belzona chemicals firm in Harrogate.