Judge’s praise for shop workers who tackled armed robber

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Attacker followed his victim for a mile before assault in city alleyway

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A JUDGE has praised the bravery of two shop workers who tackled an armed robber.

Balbier Singh and Gursewak Singh wrestled the gun away from Anthony Higson as he tried to hold up Grande Wines in Somers Town, Portsmouth.

The pair also removed a scarf the 28-year-old was using to cover his face and socks he was using for gloves.

As Higson struggled and threatened to shoot them he bit Gursewak Singh and managed to run away.

But after his face was caught on the store’s CCTV, Higson, who has a teardrop tattoo on his cheek, was quickly arrested by the police.

Jailing him for six years at Portsmouth Crown Court Judge Ian Pearson said: ‘You are a man with a very poor record of offending.

‘The aggravating features are that this was a vulnerable victim, that is to say a vulnerable shopkeeper in a small shop.

‘You did use force, you bit the man during the struggle.

‘You used an imitation firearm and you made significant threats with that firearm. You threatened to shoot the victim.

‘The whole situation on that night must have been very frightening. I have to say that, very bravely, those persons in the shop did confront you and very bravely they triumphed, removing your disguise.’

Sam Brown, defending, said Higson had gone into the shop on Christmas Eve after drinking a bottle of brandy, to get money for more drink and drugs.

‘He is disgusted by his behaviour,’ he said.

Higson, of Waverley Road, Southsea, admitted attempted robbery and possessing an imitation firearm. He also admitted six counts of cashing fake cheques, worth £2,800, in March and April last year.

The court heard he has convictions for 35 previous offences, including another attempted robbery.

Shop manager Igors Vitkovskis said he was proud of his staff.

‘They were very brave and they did well,’ he said. ‘He has got six years in jail for five minutes of show. It’s a good sentence and I’m glad the police caught him and he is in prison. My staff are OK now. Everything is back to normal.’