St Albans hotel boss praises staff for ‘bravery’ during robbery

Aubrey Park Hotel in Redbourn. Photo supplied

Aubrey Park Hotel in Redbourn. Photo supplied - Credit: Photo supplied

Staff at an award-winning hotel have been praised for their bravery and level-headedness when suddenly confronted by a knife-wielding robber.

A man disguised with a balaclava and carrying a six-inch blade demanded keys to the safe from employees at Aubrey Park Hotel, Hemel Hempstead Road in Redbourn, at 1.40am on January 3.

But, despite being faced with an armed intruder in the early morning raid, staff stood firm and refused to comply with his order.

As a consequence, the robber escaped with just £30 in cash, which he stole from the front desk in the reception area.

In an appeal for information and witnesses, Herts Police have said that the man, described as white, possibly young, and of slim build, was wearing black gloves, a balaclava, long-sleeved top and shoes.

He made off in a dark coloured vehicle - believed to be a VW Polo - towards Redbourn Road.

David Timmis, managing director of the 137-bedroom hotel which has won accolades for customer service and tourism, praised the calm way in which staff coped with their early morning ordeal.

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He told the Herts Advertiser: “They were clearly very brave. They are very experienced, and they have been in the business for a number of years, so they have the ability to handle situations.

“They handled it very well – it was over with pretty quickly, but it was a very frightening situation. I’m very proud of my team.”

Those staff confronted by the robber have since spoken with the police about the incident that “lasted about 30 seconds” at the Aubrey Park, which has been operated as a hotel in the rural village since the 1950s.

David said that the employees’ experience, and the firm stance they took when refusing to hand over the keys to the safe probably encouraged the robber “to leave quicker” than he had anticipated.

The hotelier added: “That experience helps, and is important for the safety of the hotel.”

Anyone who can assist the Herts Police investigation into the robbery should phone Detective Constable Courtney Turner on non-emergency number 101.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through its anonymous online form at