Ice-cream man robbed in busy park by robber with crowbar
Ice-cream man Giuseppe Prizio was terrified when a robber smashed into his van with a crowbar and snatched his takings as shocked families queued for cornets in the summer sun.
The veteran vendor, who has sold ice cream in Nottingham for 48 years, was handing two 99 cones out of his window to a customer in Bramcote Hills Park as the glass shattered behind him.
The 65-year-old, of Mapperley, said he thought there was about £500 – a week’s takings – in the cash box in his Soft Whippy van when the robbery took place on Wednesday.
“I was serving a nice bloke,” said Mr Prizio. “All of a sudden I heard a banging. At first, I thought it was just kids playing. There was three bangs in total. The first two he barely touched it but the third time he really whacked it. In a split second, he smashed the window and took off with the money.
“He had a hooded top, so I couldn’t see what he looked like. He shot off so quickly, it stunned everyone who was there.”
Mr Prizio waited at Bramcote Hills Park – where a huge brawl broke out during this year’s Hemlock Happening in June – for police to arrive.
“The customers were so kind,” he said. “Two men offered to drive the van home for me and a woman gave me £10 to have a drink on her. I told her when I go back to Bramcote Hills, she can have anything she wants from the van.
“I’ve been in this business for a long time and nothing like this has ever happened. I’m going to take a couple of days but I won’t let it scare me. I’ll be out in the van again.”
Niece Kelly Charlesworth, said the incident, at 4.40pm, had shaken her uncle.
“He didn’t know what had happened,” said the 33-year-old, of Lenton. “He was shellshocked. He rang the police straight away, then he rang the family. He’s still shaken up now.
“It was a busy day because it was so hot [temperatures passed 23C on Wednesday], so there were lots of families, with kids, there when it happened.
“We just want to try and find the person who did this.”
The family are all involved in the ice cream trade, through different businesses. Kelly said her uncle had been trading at Bramcote Hills Park for 20 years without trouble.
“People love him,” she said. “He’s always cracking jokes with customers and making them laugh. It’s not fair that someone would target him, because he’d never hurt anyone.”
Nottinghamshire Police said the robber ran off in the direction of Coventry Lane.
A spokesman said: “It is believed around £500 was stolen. The thief was dressed all in black with a black hat and a black jacket.”
If you can help police with their investigations, call the force on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.