Spot the dif­fer­ence

All that pro­tected me from a drugcrazed axeman was a flimsy wooden door...

Chat - - CONTENTS - Natasha Da­ley, 29, South­port

My heart thump­ing, I stum­bled to the CCTV mon­i­tor

Gag­ging from the stench of the toi­lets,

I took in the bro­ken win­dows and filthy floors. ‘It was once the hub of the com­mu­nity,’ the es­tate agent ex­plained.

Now, in Au­gust 2018, the run-down pub in South­port was derelict.

‘But it’s got po­ten­tial,’ I said, to my part­ner Alex, 33, grin­ning.

He’d been en­cour­ag­ing me to open a pub for months.

I loved cook­ing whole­some grub, had al­ways worked in restau­rants and pubs.

But since our son Har­ri­son, then 2, had ar­rived, I’d been do­ing of­fice work and hated it.

‘We’ll help out,’ my dad Ja­son, 47, promised, and my mum Chris­tine, 44, nod­ded.

So, ex­cited, we took it on. We spent weeks scrub­bing, dec­o­rat­ing, scour­ing web­sites for cheap or free fur­ni­ture.

Fi­nally, in Oc­to­ber 2018, we opened our doors.

‘Wel­come to Enelle’s Glass House,’ I greeted the cus­tomers, beam­ing.

We soon had reg­u­lars, held so­cial nights and salsa classes in the func­tion room up­stairs.

Alex and I took it in turns run­ning the bar, the other looked after Har­ri­son at home, a 30-minute drive away.

In June 2019, Mum and I stayed late do­ing pa­per­work.

‘I’m off,’ Mum an­nounced around mid­night.

‘I’ll stay and get this done,’ I told her.

There was a camp bed on the top floor, and with Alex and Har­ri­son away with fam­ily, I de­cided to sleep there. So, after por­ing over

They walked to­wards the stairs lead­ing to my room...

forms, I fi­nally went to bed about 3am.

I’d just drifted off, when enor­mous crashes shook the floor­boards. I sat bolt up­right in bed.

My heart thump­ing wildly, I stum­bled to the CCTV mon­i­tor.

All 16 of the pub se­cu­rity cam­eras flashed up on the screen – and I froze.

Two men, dressed in black, one with a cap and ruck­sack, were shak­ing the juke­box down­stairs.

A win­dow had been smashed, and the bar was cov­ered in bro­ken glass.

Sud­denly, the man wear­ing the cap pulled an axe from his bag.

‘Oh, God!’ I whis­pered. With two whacks, he smashed open the juke­box.

Then he stuffed money into his bag, be­fore mov­ing on to the fruit ma­chine.

The floor shook again as he bat­tered it with his axe.

Ter­ri­fied, I dived for my phone and, with hands shak­ing, I man­aged to dial the emer­gency ser­vices.

‘My pub’s be­ing raided!’ I whis­pered to the op­er­a­tor.

‘Stay calm,’ he replied, tak­ing my ad­dress.

‘I’m trapped!’ I hissed, jump­ing at ev­ery crash and thump.

All that stood be­tween me and the axeman was two flights of stairs and a flimsy wooden door.

I looked around for some­thing to bar­ri­cade my­self in, but ev­ery­thing was too heavy. I crept to the door and locked it. But that won’t stop an axe... I re­alised.

‘The po­lice are eight min­utes away,’ the op­er­a­tor told me.

By now, I could see on CCTV that both men were on the sec­ond floor, throw­ing ta­bles and chairs around the func­tion room. They were stuff­ing bot­tles of spir­its in their bag, try­ing to yank the TV off the wall. Then they walked to­wards the stairs lead­ing to my room. Run­ning to the tiny win­dow, I looked out into the pitch black. If I jump, I’ll die, I thought, pan­ick­ing. But if I stayed where

I was, I could die, too.

Sud­denly, one of the men was try­ing the door.

Then I heard his axe crash­ing against the wood. This is it..! I pan­icked. And then, sud­denly, a sense of calm came over me. Hold it to­gether, I told my­self.

It was fight or flight...

Adrenalin pump­ing, I flung open the door – and screamed with all I had.

The two men looked to­tally stunned – like zom­bies. Shocked, they fled.

By now, flash­ing blue lights had flooded the bar area, and the men ran out and straight into the arms of the po­lice.

An of­fi­cer came over. ‘It’s over now,’ she said to me, sooth­ingly.

But my whole body was shak­ing with shock.

Af­ter­wards, I strug­gled to get to sleep, feel­ing ner­vous and on edge.

The pub was wrecked, too, and it took a week be­fore we could re-open.

Soon after, in July 2019, Steven Lloyd, 43, and Leon Shaw, 45, ap­peared at Liv­er­pool Crown Court.

Lloyd ad­mit­ted bur­glary and pos­sess­ing a bladed ar­ti­cle, while Shaw ad­mit­ted bur­glary and pos­sess­ing an of­fen­sive weapon. Both had a string of pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions for drugs, bur­glary. The court heard they were heroin ad­dicts, high on drink and drugs. They were jailed for 20 months each.

Now, I’m too fright­ened to be in the pub alone, but fam­ily, friends and the lo­cals have been in­cred­i­ble.

Enelle’s Glass House is thriv­ing once again.

Those low-lives won’t ruin all of our hard work.

They won’t ruin my hard work

They used the axe to smash the ma­chines

L-R: rob­bers Shaw and Lloyd

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