A ROBBER who took part in a £45,000 raid at a pawnbroker’s shop was caught thanks to the bravery of staff and members of the public who tackled him as he made his getaway.
Joshua Wannan, 24, was part of a professional organised gang who targeted the Brown & Gold shop at Seacroft Shopping Centre, Leeds.
Five men targeted the shop as the area was busy with Christmas shoppers on December 23 last year.
Three members of the gang wearing balaclavas and motorbike helmets entered the shop and threatened staff.
They were ordered to lay on the ground and threatened with a hammer.
Wannan kicked opened a display cabinet and filled the bag with jewellery as the other men stopped members of staff from leaving.
It is thought two other gang members were waiting outside the store.
The robbers then ran to stolen motorbikes to get away but members of the public intervened.
One of the motorbikes was pushed over during the struggle and Wannan was tripped as he tried to leave.
Wannan was held on the ground as police were called.
Wannan removed his helmet during the struggle and headbutted one man who was restraining him.
The other gang members managed to get away but the bag of jewellery, containing watches, rings and bracelets, was left at the scene.
Wannan, of Barwick Road, Stanks, was arrested and gave a statement to the police in which he claimed he had been forced to take part in the robbery to pay off debts he owed to another man.
He pleaded guilty to robbery, possession of an offensive weapon and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Kenton Sergeant, mitigating, said threats had been made against Wannan’s family to pressure him to help the gang.
Mr Sergeant said Wannan was sorry for what he done.
Wannan was jailed for five years, eight months, at Leeds Crown Court
Judge Robin Mairs told Wannan: “This was a professionally planned and organised robbery.
“You played the role of having the jewellery - you were responsible for the loot.”
“Members of the public, with courage and fortitude, assisted in holding you down.
“This would have caused utter terror to those inside the shop.
“It is beyond dispute that the fear they suffered will live with them for some time.”
Detective Inspector Phil Jackson, of Leeds District CID, said: “Wannan was involved in an armed robbery that was a terrifying experience for staff and customers at the business and other members of the public at the shopping centre just two days before Christmas.
“This was an organised attempt to steal a large amount of jewellery from the premises but they were foiled by the actions of shop staff and members of the public who bravely intervened and tackled them.
“Despite his violent efforts to escape, they managed to keep hold of Wannan and detained him until police arrived.
“Their courageous actions clearly played a significant role in our investigation and we want to acknowledge their public-spirited response during what was a very traumatic situation.
“We hope the significant prison sentence Wannan has received will help to reassure the victims and the wider community and serve as a deterrent to others who think they can commit serious offences like this without having to face the consequences.
“Comprehensive enquiries did not result in anyone else being charged over the incident but we would still welcome any new information that could assist in identifying any of those involved.”