A HAVE-A-GO hero tackled a knife-wielding masked robber who was threatening staff in a shop in Walkden.

Alfred Thompson was in the Martin McColl newsagents in Walkden Road when Alan Yates, wearing a balaclava and holding a kitchen knife, walked in.

But after seeing a shop assistant threatened when she could not open the till, Mr Thompson, aged 59, sprang into action, grabbed the knife from Yates and wrestled him to the floor.

Yesterday, at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, Yates, aged 46, who had admitted two counts of attempted robbery and possessing an offensive weapon, was jailed for three-and-a-half years by Judge Timothy Mort.

Kate Hammond, prosecuting, told the court how staff at the store were stacking shelves on November 8 last year when Yates walked in, wearing his disguise, and leaned over the counter, attempting to open the till.

While the shop manager fled outside to phone police, Yates thrust a knife towards assistant Carol Penny and ordered her to open the till.

When the terrified shop assistant said she could not open the till, Mr Thompson stepped forward and got out his wallet and offered to buy something so the till drawer could be opened.

“I’ll have that as well,” Yates told Mr Thompson, and motioned to the wallet.

The customer decided he had had enough and grabbed the 6in knife from the robber.

During the struggle Yates managed to snatch back the knife and told Mr Thompson: “I’m going to stab you.”

But Mr Thompson, despite receiving cuts to his hand, managed to wrest the knife back and tripped up Yates as he tried to escape, keeping hold of him until police arrived.

Yates begged him: “Please let me go or I’ll be done for armed robbery.”

The court heard Yates, of Walkden Road, Worsley, had previously served 18 prison sentences, mainly for burglary and theft, and had a problem with drink and drugs which stemmed from issues in his childhood.

Benjamin Lawrence, defending, said: “He is wholly ashamed.