Gunman faces jail after holding up city off-licence

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TWO brave shop workers grappled with an armed robber as he tried to hold up a Portsmouth off-licence with a fake handgun.

Anthony Higson is pictured here on shop CCTV being restrained as the drama unfolded at Grande Wines in Somers Road, Somers Town.

Anthony Higson during an attempted armed robbery on Christmas Eve at the Grande Wines off licence in Somers Road, Somerstown.

Anthony Higson during an attempted armed robbery on Christmas Eve at the Grande Wines off licence in Somers Road, Somerstown.

With his hood up and a scarf covering his face, the 28-year-old had strolled into the store at about 9.20pm on Christmas Eve.

As reported in The News, he walked up to the counter where he pointed the black, imitation firearm at the cashier and demanded money.

But the shop worker refused to hand over any cash.

When another shop assistant walked back into the store and saw what was going on he rushed to help restrain Higson.

Goods stacked on the shelves toppled onto the floor as they battled to stop him escaping.

The pair eventually managed to pin Higson up against a chiller cabinet to get the weapon off him.

They even managed to remove his scarf and hood to reveal his face for the CCTV camera.

Higson eventually fled the scene empty-handed.

But he was arrested on January 7 and charged later that day.

He now faces jail after admitting the crime in court.

Shop manager Igors Vitkovskis arrived just after the attempted robbery.

He told The News: ‘It’s good news that he’s been caught.

‘It’s the first time something like this has happened and hopefully the last time.

‘Nobody was hurt. [The staff] did really well. Now we just want to forget about it.’

Higson, of no fixed abode, spoke only to confirm his name and plead guilty to the charges of attempted robbery and possessing an imitation firearm at Portsmouth Crown Court.

He sat quietly in the dock as a decision on a date for sentencing was made.

Judge Richard Price said: ‘Imprisonment is, as I’m sure the defendant understands, almost inevitable in this case.’

Higson was remanded in custody and will be sentenced later this month.

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