Elderly man tackles gun-wielding robber

A burglar got more than he bargained for in Ashburton on Monday night after attempting to hold up an elderly couple in their home with a gun. 

It started with the door bell ringing at 8pm, but within moments of the front door opening, 78-year-old Jim Heath had tackled the intruder down a set of stairs after the would-be robber presented a pistol in his hand.

With his wife inside, Mr Heath took immediate action.

"I just tackled him and sent him down here, and I landed on top of him," he says.

The attacker took off, with nothing to show for his efforts.

The couple, who have been married for 52 years, have worked as Christian pastors for three decades.

Their home is their sanctuary and they've won several gardening awards together. 

Despite the ordeal, they had a message of forgiveness for their attacker.

"We would tell him about Jesus, and the Lord is not against him," Mr Heath says.

They could get that opportunity - police were on the case today, and are appealing for sightings of suspicious activity around Todd Pl. 

Ashburton police denied Newshub's interview request, but released a statement saying they generally discourage anyone from confronting offenders, particularly if they are armed or aggressive.

Mr Heath says he didn't think before he acted. 

"He wasn't coming in our house, and that's probably an instinct that I have."