Islington robber jailed thanks to brave have-a-go heroes

A TEENAGE robber who was pounced on by brave shoppers during a �190,000 smash and grab raid on a City jewellers has been jailed for five years.

Dan Usher, 19, of the Packington Estate, Islington, was pinned to the ground by community-minded members of the public as he and accomplice Jimmy Tan attempted to escape on a powerful motorbike with dozens of designer watches.

One woman was punched in the face and a man was hit with a sledgehammer as they tried to restrain 19-year-old Tan outside.

Other members of the public then joined in to help hold both Tan and Usher until police arrived at the scene at Fraser Hart jewellers in the One New Change shopping centre near St Paul’s Cathedral.

Although two other robbers escaped on a second motorbike, the action of the public meant half of the loot was immediately recovered.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC praised the “astonishing fortitude” of the public as he sentenced Tan to five-and-a-half years and Usher to five years imprisonment at the Old Bailey yesterday (Thursday).

City workers were Christmas shopping at 5.40pm on December 10 last year when the raiders struck.

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Four youths wearing balaclavas and crash helmets pulled up on motorcycles outside Fraser Hart and revved their engines to intimidate the public.

The two passengers then began smashing their way into the Fraser Hart store with a sledgehammer, forcing the terrified staff to run into a back room for safety.

They shattered the display cabinets and grabbed expensive TAG and Breitling watches before dashing from the shop.

But they were held up when two members of the public courageously held the front doors shut, forcing Tan to smash his way out with the hammer.

Louise Ward was one of those who tried to grab Tan and stop him leaving and was punched in the face, suffering a cut to her mouth.

Usher, who was waiting on a Triumph Triple Speed 1050cc bike, was also prevented from escaping by the public.

Usher pleaded guilty to robbery and aggravated vehicle taking. Tan, of Statham House, on the Patmore Estate, Battersea, admitted robbery and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Judge Leonard said: “This was a planned and organised attack on a jewellers by four of you on two motorbikes.

“The sledgehammer which you carried, Tan, was used to gain access to the shop and also caused fear to the staff of Fraser Hart jewellers.

“That was no doubt increased by the wearing of helmets and balaclavas.

“Two members of the public showed astonishing fortitude by holding the doors closed to prevent you getting out.

“The two of you were then wrestled to the ground until police came. You, Tan, hit Louise Ward when she tried to prevent you getting away. A custodial sentence is inevitable.”