Shop hero grabs raider’s gun

Brave: Paul Huxley tackled armed robber.
Brave: Paul Huxley tackled armed robber.
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DRAMATIC CCTV pictures captured the moment a hero Sheffield shopkeeper grappled with a gunman and yanked the weapon from his hands during a terrifying armed robbery.

Paul Huxley, aged 31, who manages The Local on Sharrow Lane, Sharrow, sprung into action when Richard Wilkinson burst in - a scarf covering his face - holding a bag with a gun poking out.

Court Reports: All the latest top stories from Crown Court and Magistrates hearings throughout South Yorkshire.

Court Reports: All the latest top stories from Crown Court and Magistrates hearings throughout South Yorkshire.

The brave shopkeeper - who survived a separate armed robbery at his shop just six months ago - discovered the gun was a replica only after disarming the intruder.

Paul told The Star that Wilkinson, aged 37, of Kenilworth Court, Parkhead, near Whirlow, demanded cash before forcing his way behind the counter.

He said the gunman ordered him to open the till - but, instead, Paul grappled with the robber and managed to pull the gun from his hands.

Paul said when he discovered the gun was a plastic water pistol, he snapped it in half.

The hapless robber then stumbled as he lunged towards Paul, and the shopkeeper managed to force him to the floor in a bid to restrain him while he dialled 999.

But Wilkinson eventually managed to squirm free, and fled empty-handed.

A customer who was in the shop with her six-year-old child at the time of the raid was unharmed but said to have been “distressed” by her ordeal.

Today, Paul said: “I probably wasn’t as shocked as I could have been because exactly the same thing happened to me six months ago. On that occasion the gun was real, and the robber did get away with some money.”

Recalling the latest drama at his store, Paul told The Star: “The guy came in with a scarf over his face and came up to the counter with a gun in a carrier bag which I could see.

“He came behind the counter and was shouting at me to try to get me to open the till - he was saying words to the effect of ‘give me all your money’.

“I ignored him and grabbed the gun from his hands, and snapped it in two to let him know I realised it was a toy.

“He then tried to grab hold of me but he stumbled, so I ended up jumping on his back to restrain him.”

Detective Inspector Sean Bird, who oversaw the investigation into the raid, said: “There was a customer in the premises who was frightened and distressed, believing the firearm to be real. It transpired it was actually a toy.

“A rapid police investigation led to the suspect being identified.”

Wilkinson appeared at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday where he gave an intention to plead guilty to charges of attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence.

Judge Michael Murphy QC said: “It seems custody is inevitable.”

Wilkinson, who will also be sentenced for two thefts, the details of which were not read out in court, appeared via videolink from Doncaster Prison. He was remanded in custody pending psychiatric and probation service reports.