Deal or No Deal winner robbed of Rolex

Paul French is pictured with Noel Edmonds on Deal Or No Deal
Paul French is pictured with Noel Edmonds on Deal Or No Deal
John Apter

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A MAN with learning difficulties who once won TV’s Deal or No Deal was targeted by robbers who stole his Rolex watch.

Paul French was taking his dog Cassie for a walk at 5.45pm on Monday when he passed a parked white Ford Transit van at the junction of Keyhaven Drive and Middle Park Way, in Leigh Park.

A man jumped out of the sliding side door and told him to hand over his wallet and phone.

When Mr French refused, the robber pulled out a penknife and grabbed at his fleece, revealing the £4,000 watch which was paid for from winnings he made appearing on the game show, hosted by Noel Edmonds.

The knifeman demanded that too.

Mr French, who lives in Leigh Park, said: ‘Poor Cassie was shaking like a leaf. I was just terrified they were going to take her so I did what he told me to do.

‘I was shaking and thinking “Why is this happening to me?”

‘It was all over so quickly and they drove off and left me on the corner.

‘I didn’t know what to do for a while because I had to get my bearings back.

‘While I was standing there I worked out it I was five minutes from my house but if he stabbed me I wouldn’t even make it home. I didn’t have any sleep last night, I was up thinking about it.’

Mr French bought the watch from his father John after taking part in the Channel 4 game show in 2010. He said it is the family’s prized possession and is desperate to get it back.

His 61-year-old mother Jenny said: ‘How could anyone do something like that to Paul?’

The main suspect is black, around 5ft 11in and wore dark trousers, a white shirt, and a black jacket. He wore a lot of gold jewellery. There were two ginger-haired men in the front of the van wearing blue uniforms. The van had ladders on the back, an agricultural-type tow bar and a number 10 on the nearside.

Det Con Lucia Davies said: ‘The robbery happened at a busy time of day. We are hoping that somebody may have witnessed the incident, or recognises the suspect or the van from the descriptions given.’

Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.