A 91-year-old war hero being robbed of his medals gave the burglar a black eye - before declaring: 'I like a bit of fisticuffs'.
Thug Michael MacKinnon burst into William Hook's Edinburgh townhouse and covered the retired sheriff's head with a cloth.
But the pensioner - known as 'Hang 'em Hook' during his 30 years on the bench - fought back, punching MacKinnon and forcing him out of his back door, where he got stuck in a river. He was then arrested by police.
Speaking about the ordeal, Mr Hook said it was nothing compared to the five years he spent as a Prisoner of War in Germany.
'He gave me a black eye so I gave him one back. He probably thought he had got lucky when he saw me but there's life in me yet and I thumped him as hard as I could.'
Mr Hook said his only worry was that he would never see his medals again, after MacKinnon escaped his grasp.
Luckily, firefighters found the crook stranded in the waters of Leith behind Mr Hook's Moray Place mansion.
'The police couldn't bring him in for me to identify because he was soaking wet, poor chap,' Mr Hook added.
MacKinnon, whose address was given as Prison of Edinburgh, appeared from custody before Sheriff Derrick McIntyre yesterday.
He pleaded guilty to assault and robbery, and Mr Hook said he expected him to be jailed for the attack.
He said: 'I would not like to be seen to be trying to influence matters.
'I have nothing against the man and I know what he did to me was not personal.
'It is very serious however and one would imagine he will be imprisoned.'
MacKinnon's defence lawyer Cameron Tait did not apply for his bail and reserved any statement until sentencing.