Raid heroes get bravery gongs

The Co-op Late Shop, Pole Street
The Co-op Late Shop, Pole Street

SEVEN have-a-go heroes who thwarted an attempted robbery are to be presented with a top bravery award.

The group, who were drinking in The Black Bull in Standish, dashed to the aid of frightened female shop workers at the nearby Co-op Late Store after one rushed over to raise the alarm.

They rushed at the three masked men using shopping trolleys to knock them over and then kept them pinned down until police arrived.

Today Wigan’s police chief paid tribute to their community-spirited actions.

All are to be presented with the National Police Public Bravery Awards.

Chief Supt Shaun Donnellan said: “Had the customers not intervened in this offence, the identification of these dangerous offenders would have been very difficult.

“The brave actions of the witnesses enabled dangerous individuals to be taken off the street, showed community spirit and that decent people will not stand for criminal behaviour. I was happy to award them all a Commander’s commendation.”

The awards recognise the assistance provided by members of the public who have intervened to foil criminal acts and come to the assistance of others.

The Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Police Authorities present the awards each summer to members of the public nominated by the officers who investigated and dealt with the crimes they intervened in.

Medal winners are invited to a gala awards evening where they and a guest will be accommodated in one of the area’s top hotels.

After the attempted robbery, Standish man Craig Brooks, 26, told the Evening Post how he was enjoying a pint at The Black Bull near the Co-op in Pole Street when a shop worker ran across the road and into the pub saying a robbery was in progress.

Joined by his 24-year-old friend Ashley Molyneux and seven others from the popular sports pub, the group then dashed in to tackle three masked raiders.

After stealing cigarettes and cash from the till, the unarmed gang threatened female staff to get into the safe.

But then they tried to flee when suddenly confronted by the pub punters.

Mr Brooks told how he grabbed one of the Co-op’s trolleys and used it to barge into one of the thugs before the group managed to restrain two of them until police arrived.

He said: “They were still in the store when we arrived. There was money all over the floor and cigarette packets everywhere. When they saw us they all started running off in different directions.

“We each took one aisle to block the men off, and two of them were running towards me. I grabbed a shopping trolley that was near me, and barged it into one of them. He fell right over the trolley and then fell onto me.

“The other one saw what I did and ran off, but the others managed to catch him and keep him there. The third man escaped through another exit. I didn’t know the others from the pub who ran over there – we just all acted instinctively and worked together.

“Luckily, the men weren’t armed, otherwise the outcome could have been so different. I struggled to sleep the night afterwards, I was so pumped.”

Black Bull landlady Ann Chadwick said: “The customers were so quick to act, they were brilliant. One of the bar staff, Raymond Janes, looked after the two Co-op workers who were distraught afterwards.”

Det Insp Martin Reddington said: “The customers in the pub showed incredible bravery to confront these robbers in the act, with no thought for their own safety or well-being. As a result, we were able to detain two suspects.”

A Co-op spokesman said: “While we do not encourage members of the public to get involved with such incidents, we would like to thank those who assisted on this occasion.”