A brave Largs shopkeeper has described how she took on a shoplifter who tried to raid her town centre store.

Courageous Isobel Lennon, 67, was punched in the face during the shocking incident last week.

Her attacker, 30-year-old Nicole Shaw, was arrested a short time later – and was handed a 20-week jail sentence when she appeared in court the next day.

Isobel, also known as Bella, said it was the first such incident she’d encountered in more than 23 years working at The Great Outdoors and Trespass in Main Street, which are both owned by her husband Brian.

She said she hopes her quick actions will serve as a deterrent to would-be shoplifters thinking of targeting stores in Largs in future.

Speaking after the terrifying incident, which happened at Trespass on Tuesday, October 10, Isobel said she and Brian had immediately become suspicious when the woman staggered into the shop.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Quick action to thwart shoplifter in tracks: Isobel LennonQuick action to thwart shoplifter in tracks: Isobel Lennon (Image: Newsquest)

She said: "I heard a noise outside and it was if somebody was putting bags down.

"My husband was in the shop with me, and I was behind the desk.

"We both looked over and then this woman came in and she had a big navy jacket on and was staggering all over the shop - and went right up to the back of the premises.

"We had people in the shop and my husband Brian went up to check that everything was ok.

"She looked like she was on drugs. She just headed straight up to the back of the shop, and then a minute later she headed back down.

“My husband was behind her and he said ‘she has stock in her jacket' - so I went to the shop door to confront her as she tried to leave.

"She just opened her jacket and started throwing items out, while swearing and cursing, and she said: "I didn't f****** steal your stuff' - and Brian told her to 'get out'.

“She turned round to punch me in the face. I suffered some swelling under the cheek but it was nothing serious.

"Brian then took the picture of her and she continued swearing at me. She walked up as if she was heading to the railway station, so Brian sent the picture on to the police.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Shoplifter Nicole Shaw outside premisesShoplifter Nicole Shaw outside premises (Image: Nicole Shaw)

"The local police came to get a statement from us at 4pm, and they said they had arrested her. She was actually on a train. and they took her off and she started kicking off.

“She tried to bite the police - they had to get her on the ground, and she was then put into custody.

"The Largs police were fantastic. They couldn't have been nicer, and they were very empathetic to me after what happened, and they were really good.

"I got a phone call on the following afternoon from the procurator fiscal in Kilmarnock, and they told me that Nicole Shaw had been up in the sheriff court and had been given 20 weeks.

"How good was it that they got her and did something about her the next day.

"It is good to know that she didn't get away with anything."

Isobel said she had “never encountered anybody like this” in the 23 years she and Brian have been running the stores.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

"These are happy shops,” she continued. “There isn't anyone in Largs who hasn't bought something in one of our two shops.

"We are all about providing a positive shopping experience.

"I think it was just an adrenalin rush to confront her - we weren't prepared to let them get away with it and we got a good picture of them caught in the act.

"It is awful that this kind of things happen. Shoplifters are becoming more brazen and it is important to be vigilant.

"Police visibility in the area is important - and it was good to see the police act so quickly here and get a good positive result."

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Shaw, of Bathville Road in Kilbirnie, was taken to Saltcoats police station after being arrested, and pleaded guilty to three charges when she appeared at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court the following day.

She admitted assaulting, and acting in a threatening or abusive manner towards, two retail workers at a store on Main Street on October 10 by shouting, swearing, uttering offensive and ageist remarks, and striking the woman on the head.

She also admitted being in possession of a quantity of cocaine.

At the October 11 hearing she was handed a 20-week prison sentence.