Hero Sheffield shopkeeper tackled teenage robber

Sheffield Crown Court.
Sheffield Crown Court.
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A Sheffield gang member who held up a have-a-go shopkeeper at knifepoint has been locked up – thanks to his bravery and that of two passers-by.

The pot-smoking 16-year-old who associated with gangs in the Lowedges area needed cash to pay drug debts, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Brave shopkeeper Visagapathy Niranjan tackled the masked youth when he made off with the till from Westwick Convenience News and Booze store.

The robber who was wearing a balaclava walked into the store and went up to the counter demanding: “Give me the money, give me the money.”

As he wielded a knife with a six-inch blade Mr Niranjan picked up a chair and tried to fend off his attacker leading to a struggle ‘for some minutes’.

But Brian Outhwaite, prosecuting, said the shopkeeper tired and the 16-year-old went behind the counter and tried to force the till, breaking his knife.

When he realised he could not open the till he ran off with the till containing up to £150 with Mr Niranjan giving chase.

The robber tried to make his getaway on bike but Mr Niranjan grabbed his legs.

The 16-year-old managed to break free but two men who saw what was happening ran after him and detained him until police arrived.

The teenager admitted robbery and possessing a bladed article on the evening of June 10.

Amy Earnshaw, defending, said he did not intend to hurt the shopkeeper and wished to make amends to him.

He had struggled with drugs misuse for the last two years and became part of the local gang culture after losing his father.

He had now stopped smoking cannabis and wanted to go to university and study to become an architect. “He no longer wishes to be associated with the gangs in the Lowedges area,” she said.

The judge Recorder Paul Isaacs told the teenager that he needed to get away from ‘older, more sophisticated people who would lead you down the wrong paths’.

The 16-year-old was given three years and three months detention.