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A pestle-packin' marshal hits town
He was once a gun-toting, blue-uniformed cop dealing out justice on the mean streets of Fort Worth, Texas.
He cracked drug crime, arrested armed villains and won a medal for valour. Every day he got tooled up with two .45 automatic revolvers and sometimes took along a pump-action shotgun.
Today, Mike Roberts’ patch is quaint, cobbled Haworth Main Street, historic home of the Brontes.
The 56-year-old wears a white apron and black bow tie and deals out ancient remedies and ointments, including the world famous Zam-Buk embrocation, using historic tools of the trade, a mortar and pestle.
And his punters are customers at Rose & Co Apothecary shop where he has served behind the counter for the last 12 months.
Mike moved to Haworth with his Otley-born wife, Karen, after 20 years as a US police officer – force emblem the long horned steer.
He arrived with an array of medals, including one for tackling an armed man who threatened to massacre his former workmates and then kill himself, and with memories of being shot at, but proudly never having had to fire his gun on duty.
Mike said: ‘‘There were just a couple of occasions when I was within a moment of squeezing the trigger.
‘‘Once was the time I won my medal for valour. The man was in the car which I had stopped and I was covering him with my gun.
‘‘He reached across going for his gun and I had to make a split-second decision whether to shoot. I decided not to and threw the gun down and dived through the window of the car and grabbed his arm. I was still scared that he would floor the gas but he didn’t.’’ Mike and his partner arrested the man and later he was awarded his medal and citation signed by future President George W Bush, then Governor of Texas.
He said: ‘‘We chose to come to Yorkshire because Karen’s from here.
‘‘But it’s also because of the slower pace of life and beautiful countryside.
‘‘Texas has its good points – wide open spaces and cheap cost of living, but it can reach 104 degrees in the summer!’’ Mike and Karen met when he was working at the American Embassy in London. They moved to Texas and Mike joined the force in 1987.
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