Wansford man who fended off raid on cattery brands burglars ‘stupid’ after jail sentence

Paws and Claws Cattery, Wansford.'Photo: MSMP230114-002ow
Paws and Claws Cattery, Wansford.'Photo: MSMP230114-002ow
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A man who fought off two burglars and chased them from his premises has branded them “stupid” after they were jailed for eight years.

David Johnson, 67, was sitting at the kitchen table at his home in Wansford – from where his wife runs a cattery –when two men wearing balaclavas burst in.

Jordan Cole, Barry Robinson and Swaley Smith

Jordan Cole, Barry Robinson and Swaley Smith

After a momentary stand-off one of the burglars put David in a headlock and demanded to know where the safe was.

Luckily David had a folding lock knife and was able to thrust it towards his attacker, who let go and fled with his accomplice.

David chased the pair outside where they made off in a car with a third man.

The two burglars were Barry Robinson, 39, and Jordan Cole, 24. They were both sentenced to eight years in prison at Peterborough Crown Court. Getaway driver Swaley Smith, 25, was jailed for seven years.

David, who works for Park Air Systems in Market Deeping, lives in Old Leicester Road, Wansford with his wife Jenny, 67. Jenny runs Paws and Claws Cattery from their home, and David believes the burglars were expecting to find his wife rather than himself.

He said: “I think they weren’t expecting to see me. They stopped and then came for me.

“I was in so much shock that I didn’t move until the idiot grabbed me around the neck. Then I thought I’d better do something.

“As soon as they realised I had the knife, which I use around the cattery, they backed off and ran.”

Cole grabbed a phone from the kitchen table as he fled. Once outside Robinson picked up a piece of plastic lumber used to build cattery runs and hit David, while Cole threw a brick at him but missed.

The pair then ran towards Swaley, who drove off in a blue Volkswagen Golf.

Luckily a friend of the Johnsons had seen the three men acting suspiciously in Wansford the previous day, and reported the car to police.

David called 999 after the raid and within an hour the car had been spotted in Boston town centre, where the three men were arrested.

David said: “Police reacted incredibly well. They were already tracking the car. They said they thought they knew who they were already.”

All three men denied the offences and would not answer questions in interviews with police..

But Robinson was forensically linked to the crime after the David’s blood, from a finger he cut accidentally with the knife, was found on his clothing.

Cole’s footprints were found at the scene and Smith’s fingerprints were found on a plastic bag found outside the property by a police officer.

After being shown the evidence, Robinson, of March, Cambridgeshire and Smith, of Benwick, near March, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery on October 20 last year, while Cole, of no fixed address, admitted burglary, relating to the mobile phone.

David said: “The fact that they targeted a cattery just shows how stupid they are.

“There’s no money in a cattery. We don’t have enough money to buy a safe, let alone enough to keep in one.

“I have to say that my gut feeling was they would get a slap on the wrist. But the police were much more enthusiastic.”

Det Con Shish Thind, who investigated, said: “This was a planned robbery in which the offenders were prepared to use violence to get what they wanted.

“However, the victim showed considerable bravery to fight off his attacker and we were able to track down those responsible.

“This was terrible experience for the victim to have to go through and the case demonstrates how seriously this type of offence is treated by us and the courts.”