Malta crime: Ex-England rugby international foils robbers with tea mug

Map of Siggiewi in Malta

A 78-year-old former England rugby player has foiled a robbery attempt by three men, chasing them out of his house in Malta using only a mug of tea.

John Ranson says he slammed the door on the first intruder, threw the hot tea at the eyes of the second and targeted the third with his empty mug.

Police are still looking for the trio, one of whom reportedly had a gun.

The incident happened in Siggiewi, a rural area where Mr Ranson has lived 10 out of his 26 years in Malta.

"I usually wake up early, between 05:00 and 06:00," he told the BBC.

"I made a mug of tea and was going through the garage when I saw a foot behind the door."

'This is for real'

At first, Mr Ranson said, he thought it was the pool man, even though it was not his day. Then he spotted the other two intruders.

"They were all wearing balaclavas and one of them had a gun. I thought: 'This is for real'."

After chasing them off, he started shouting "many names", he said, as if others were in the house. But it was just himself and his wife.

The men left the house over a wall, he said, probably the same way they had got in.

Mr Ranson believes they are the same people he spotted a week earlier inside his property.

They were speaking Italian, he said, and fled in a car after they were asked by the former player what they were doing there.

He called the police and reported the car's number plate but was later told by officials it was fake.

Mr Ranson, who represented England between 1963 and 1964, winning seven Test match caps, says the incident has made him more careful over security.

Doors and windows, which were previously left open, are now all locked, he says.

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