Yorkshire police officer tackled knife-wielding robber who threatened families and children dining at popular restaurant

A North Yorkshire Police officer who tackled a knife-wielding robber who threatened families with young children while they were dining at a popular restaurant has been recognised for her bravery.

PC Laura Kelly
PC Laura Kelly

PC Laura Kelly had been alerted to a man who had threatened staff with a knife during a robbery at the Sainsbury's store in Scarborough and given his description.

While searching the area along, she noticed a man drinking in El Gringo's restaurant wearing similar clothing to the description the shop workers had given her.

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She calmly approached the man, being her usual jovial self and took some details. At this time she didn't believe he was the robbery suspect, until another officer said the suspect's knife had a red handle, at which point PC Kelly spotted the red handle protruding from the man's jacket sleeve

Taking a few steps back to create some space from the suspect, PC Kelly called on her personal radio for assistance.

The robber realised he had been identified and produced the large knife, holding it out in front of hi.

He made his way into the restaurant's busy seating area where families were eating, waving the knife directly at members of the public.

PC Kelly followed the man, all whilst shouting and gesturing for members of the public to leave.

She closed the gap on the suspect and, armed only with her captor spray, prayed him and pushed furniture to block his escape.

This allowed the last of the diners to leave, before other officers arrived and the man was detained using a Taser.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "PC Kelly displayed the highest level of bravery and sacrificed her own safety to ensure members of the public, including several children, did not come to harm.

"She used all her skills to contain the threat and managed to effectively update the Force Control Room under the greatest of pressure.

"The suspect was found in possession of the stolen property and faces a lengthy sentence for numerous crimes."

PC Kelly has been nominated for North Yorkshire Police's Public Choice Award, alongside eight other brave colleagues from the force.

She said: “I am delighted to be nominated for a Public Choice Award and extremely happy that no officers or members of the public were hurt during this incident.”

The winner of the awards will be chosen by the public and people can vote by visiting the force's website.

The winner of the Public Choice Award will be announced by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, at the North Yorkshire Police Annual Awards event in November.

Chief Constable Lisa Winward, said:“Every day, members of the North Yorkshire Police family do remarkable things and go the extra mile to serve the public.

“The public choice Award is an opportunity for us to showcase some of the extraordinary work some our Police Officers, Staff and Volunteers have done, which are in line with our three values of Courage, Compassion and Inspiration.

“I hope that this year’s citations will encourage members of the communities we serve to place their vote, paying tribute to someone they think has done the most incredible job to help the public.