The plucky grandmother who tackled a gang of would-be jewel thieves in Northampton earlier this week was, herself, wanted by police in connection with several international jewellery heists that remain unsolved.
Elsie Watkins, 83, of 34 Sunset Gardens, Turgoose Street, Northampton NN4 6TY, is known to the authorities all over Europe as 'Little E', and was thought to be part of a gang that terrorised the Mediterranean coastline between 1981 and 1988.
More than 300 robberies on jewel stores and celebrity properties were carried out during this period - often with violence - with an estimated $200billion of goods stolen.
Little E - the Harvey Keitel-type figure in the gang - has remained at large for more than 20 years until raising her handbag to the incompetent thieves who tried unsuccessfully to break into the jewellery shop in Northampton town centre this week. She battered one to the ground, noted down the registration numbers of the two scooters that got away, and gave police full descriptions of all six members of the gang, including details of one of the thugs who had overly-long nasal hair.
Sergeant Eric Gobsmack of Northampton Police told us:
"Elsie - or Little E as she likes to be known - was a real heroine in this arrest. With this in mind, we have decided to forget her involvement in those Froggy robberies all those years ago. She will still, however, have to answer charges of assaulting one of the thieves with her handbag. That's just how ridiculous the law in Britain is these days."