Moment brave shop worker drops his mop and single-handedly tackles gun-wielding robber forcing him to flee

17 April 2023, 15:00

Police Praise Heroic Leeds Shop Worker As Armed Robber Jailed

By Will Taylor

Incredible CCTV shows the moment a hero shop worker tackles a gun-wielding robber during his crime spree.

Niall Stranix. 61, had been mopping the floor of a One Stop shop in Leeds when Marlow Stewart tried to raid it.

But Mr Stranix managed to get him in a headlock and stop the robbery despite bleeding from the head after Stewart, 37, struck him with a bottle.

He refused to back down even when the robber held a gun at him, forcing him to leave the shop empty-handed.

And during the struggle, which was caught entirely on camera, Stewart's mask fell down, allowing him to be identified.

Detective Inspector Ryan Malyk, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "While we always advise members of the public in such situations to think of their safety first, we must recognise the incredible bravery that Niall Stranix showed in making the decision to tackle him while he was threatening his female colleague.

CCTV shows the struggle between the hero employee and the robber
CCTV shows the struggle between the hero employee and the robber. Picture: West Yorkshire Police

"Despite not knowing if the gun he was holding was real or not, he showed tremendous courage in taking him on and it was his actions that directly led to Stewart's face being captured on CCTV and him being identified as the suspect."

Stewart committed 13 crimes in the space of about 30 minutes on the evening of July 19 last year.

He bought a bottle of vodka at a corner shop near Chapel Allerton Park, then went into the park and robbed two 19-year-old men for their phones, having shown them a gun on his waistband.

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Later, he went into a Premier shop in Ledgett Lane and threatened an employee with what looked like a handgun.

The masked robber was forcing the worker to open a till as a woman entered the shop.

He threatened her for her car keys but the shop worker used that as a chance to escape.

Stewart still stole cash from the till and left in the female customer's white Audi A1.

Just minutes later, he arrived at the One Stop in Chandos Gardens.

Stewart was jailed for more than a decade for the crime spree in Leeds
Stewart was jailed for more than a decade for the crime spree in Leeds. Picture: West Yorkshire Police

He went in with his mask and brandished his gun, terrifying the female shop worker behind the counter.

But as he demanded money, Mr Stranix, who was cleaning the floor, managed to get him in a headlock.

The CCTV shows Stewart lash out at Mr Stranix, trying to hit him with his gun. Mr Stranix is seen trying to hold the weapon so it is pointed at the ground. The two then face up to each other as Stewart strikes his head.

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Stewart then finally relents, leaving the store as Mr Stranix, who is bleeding from his head, watches him leave.

The gun is thought to have actually been a plastic BB gun.

Stewart got away, crashing the stolen Audi into a barrier and swerving through traffic as he ran red lights.

Police managed to track him down and arrest him on September 29, and he was charged with four counts of robbery, one of attempted robbery, five counts of possession of a firearm while committing a robbery, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Stewart was forced to flee empty-handed
Stewart was forced to flee empty-handed. Picture: West Yorkshire Police

Stewart admitted them at Leeds Crown Court in October and has now been given 10 years and four months in prison, with an extended licence period of five years.

DI Malyk said: "Stewart put all these victims through some really frightening experiences when he carried out these robberies over a very short space of time.

"He was clearly desperate and dangerous, and those who encountered him were put in genuine fear when he confronted them at gunpoint."

He added: "We hope that the significant prison sentence that Stewart has received will provide some comfort to all the victims as well as some reassurance to the wider community to know that he is safely off the streets."