Article from Daily Mirror, Thursday August 22nd 1996

Don’t Be So Silly

Photograph of Pam Mills

Brave Pam Mills sent a bank robber packing by telling him: "Don't be so silly. That's not a real gun. Just go away."

The shamed bandit. 22-year-old Carl Barnes. fled empty handed. And yesterday magistrate Pam's courage earned her an award.

She said: "I spoke to him just like I would to my children playing the fool 10 years ago. I told him not to be so silly." Barnes burst into Barclays at Burton Latimer, Northants. while on the run from jail where he was serving six years for robbery.

Pam. 49. who has three grown-up sons and has been a JP for 14 years, was paying in cash from a charity street collection when she heard a gruff voice demand: "Give me the money."

She  recalled:   "His  gun looked like two pieces of tubing wrapped in a plastic bag.

"I told him to go away and brushed him aside.

"He turned around and pointed the gun at my stomach. I looked at it again and thought 'Oh my God.'

"This time it looked real. Again I blurted out 'Don't be so silly' and knocked the gun up to the ceiling. I thought that if it was going to go off. at least it would only hit the ceiling.

"He just turned round and walked off."

Barnes was captured and sentenced to another seven years for attempted robbery. The gun turned out to be a fake made from two metal pipes.

But presenting Pam with a Certificate of Appreciation, Northamptonshire Chief Constable Ted Crew said: "Although Mrs Mills had some doubt as to whether it was a real firearm, she could not have been sure."