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'Supergran' batters thieves with handbag

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN
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Woman takes crime into her own hands
  • Video shows an elderly woman running towards an armed gang, swinging her handbag
  • Gang of six was attempting to smash windows of jewelry store in central England
  • Men flee on mopeds after unnamed woman repeatedly hits them over the head
  • Four men have been arrested, police searching for two others

London (CNN) -- A British pensioner who "clobbered" a gang of six armed men with her handbag during a jewelry heist has admitted she "may have been foolish" to intervene.

The woman, who declined to be named, told a local newspaper she was talking to a woman in Northampton, central England, when she heard a commotion and saw six young men on scooters.

"At first I thought one of them was being set upon by three others. I was not going to stand by and watch somebody take a beating or worse so I tried to intervene," she told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.

A video clip of the woman, dressed in a red coat and thick tights, dashing down a busy street armed only with a black handbag has been broadcast worldwide.

I'm not a hero and it was maybe foolish of me to get involved but somebody had to do something.
--Woman who thwarted thieves

"When I got closer to them I realised it was a robbery and then I was even more angry that they felt they could get away with what they were doing in broad daylight," she told the newspaper.

The woman can be seeing battering three men with her handbag as they used sledgehammers to smash the windows of a jewelry store, while three accomplices waited nearby on mopeds.

"One of the gang shot off down Gold Street on a scooter and nearly hit a woman and baby in her buggy. I clobbered him with my shopping but he got away," the woman said.

"She was absolutely amazing," said Sarah-Jane Brown, a witness who admits to cowering inside a nearby store during the attempted robbery.

"We were terrified, we locked the door, we hid under the desk, we were really scared and we looked outside and -- God love her -- she was running down the road with her handbag in the air, banging them on the back of their helmets with her handbag."

The unnamed heroine, dubbed "supergran" and the "handbag heroine" by the British press, said she "very uncomfortable" with the media attention that had followed the Monday morning incident.

"I'm not a hero and it was maybe foolish of me to get involved but somebody had to do something," she said.

Northampton police said the video was shot by a professional crew who were filming something "completely unrelated" on the other side of the road.

"It's a real incident. It's a real crime. It's just a peculiar set of circumstances," a police spokeswoman said.

Passersby ran in only after the men attempted to escape, detaining one who fell off his moped until police arrived on the scene.

Four men aged 18, 22, 25 and 39 were arrested shortly after the incident, police said. Officers are still searching for two other suspects.