Hammer-wielding thugs terrify Seven Kings pubgoers

HAMMER-wielding masked thugs burst into a Seven Kings pub last night but fled after a punter stood up to them.

The faces of the two hooded men were completely covered in thick black gauze when they crashed through the doors of The Cauliflower Pub in High Road Ilford, at 6.30pm.

Shocked drinkers looked on as one of the men, who was brandishing a large hammer, looked around the pub before running towards the entrance to the back of the bar.

But one regular faced up to the attackers.

The man, who did not want to be named said: “I felt for my life. I was terrified. I was playing pool and this guy was waving the hammer.

“I said ‘not in here mate’.”

The men took note and ran out. Barman Marcin Grabski immediately locked the doors.

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He said: “He didn’t even come behind the bar, maybe they were looking for someone. Everyone was scared – when someone’s coming at you with a hammer you are.”

People at the scene were unsure whether they had witnessed an attempted robbery or a would-be attack.

Journalists from the Recorder’s sister papers, the Barking and Dagenham Post and the East London Advertiser were celebrating reporter Sara Odeen-Isbister passing her shorthand exams when the attack happened.

News editor Victoria Huntley said: “At first I thought they were coming specifically to look for somebody then I realised they were trying to rob the place. One of them had a huge hammer which he was waving around threateningly but then one of the punters pick up a pool queue. He chased them off with a pool queue – he’s my hero.”

Redbridge Police attracted criticism for arriving at the pub two and a half hours after they were called.

A spokeswoman said police were called at 6.40pm and attended at 9.05pm.

She added: “No one made themselves known to police as requiring police assistance.”