A PLUCKY pensioner told today how she bravely performed a mini-market sweep at a Gourock shop — by warding off a would-be armed robber with a BROOMSTICK.

Sixty-year-old counter assistant Mary Robertson raised the brush above her head and held it like a spear after offender Michael Joyce had brandished an Irn Bru bottle at her.

Joyce, 25, inset, repeatedly ordered Mary to open the Shore Street store’s till but she showed that she was the one ‘made from girders’ and told him to beat it — which he did.

Mary told the Telegraph: “I picked up the big brush because I knew it has some length to it to keep him away.

“I didn’t know if he was going to lunge over the counter or not but I made sure that I was ready for him if he did.”

Drunken Joyce — who was not smelling of alcohol — had staggered in to the Cowden’s newsagents shop before producing the empty bottle.

CCTV footage of the drama, which was played in Greenock Sheriff Court, showed the hooded raider struggling to keep his balance during the botched raid.

Mary said: “I wasn’t scared at all. He was high as a kite.”

Prosecutor Kevin Doherty told the court how Mary and fellow staff member Melissa Wallis, 18, ‘kept their eyes’ on Joyce as he fumbled in his pockets.

Mr Doherty said: “Mr Joyce left two minutes later without purchasing anything and then returned some 20 minutes later.

“He removed a mobile phone charging wire from one of his pockets and began unravelling it before returning it to his pocket.

“Mr Joyce then moved towards the counter and produced an empty glass Irn Bru bottle and brandished it towards the witnesses.

“He demanded that they open the till.

“Mary Robertson asked him what he’d just said and he repeated that he wanted the till opened, as he continued to brandish the bottle.

“She told him that she couldn’t open it, to which Mrs Joyce replied, ‘Open it or I’ll open it’.

“Mrs Robertson could see that he appeared to be under the influence of something, but noted that he did not smell of alcohol.

“She lifted up a sweeping brush and pointed it at Mr Joyce and told him in no uncertain terms to leave.”

The fiscal depute added: “He did this and outside picked up a shopping basket outside which contained some cans of lager and walked off in the direction of Gourock railway station.

“Police were called and officers found Mr Joyce sitting in the station with the empty Irn Bru bottle and the basket of lager.”

Joyce, of Rannoch Gardens, Port Glasgow, had been facing a jury trial but pleaded guilty to the indictment charge through lawyer Gerry Keenan.
He committed the offence shortly after 4pm on February 5.

Sheriff Iain Fleming remanded Joyce in custody for sentencing on November 30 after being told that he is due to appear at another court on a separate criminal matter next week.