Belsize Park supermarket staff turn tables on would-be robber armed with fake gun

PUBLISHED: 17:48 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:22 09 March 2018

Staff at a Belsize Park supermarket tackled a would-be robber this afternoon.

Staff at a Belsize Park supermarket tackled a would-be robber this afternoon.


Plucky Belsize Park supermarket workers turned the tables on a would-be robber armed with a fake gun this afternoon.

Witnesses describe seeing a man run into Thornton’s Budgens in Haverstock Hill at about 1.45pm before trying to steal cash from the Post Office counter in front of shocked customers.

But when staff realised his weapon was not a firearm but simply two metal pipes taped together, they turned the tables on the would-be robber, with four shopworkers pinning him to the floor, one witness said.

James Thornton, in the store at the time, said he heard screams before colleagues shouted for help from the shop’s security guard.

“I saw a man by some stalls,” he said. “He ran into a sealed-off area. He was pushing against a door and staff were pushing back. Everyone was gathering around. They got out, put him in a locked position and surrounded him.

“We were really worried the guy was armed, but he wasn’t. Luckily, there were no casualties.

“I know these things can happen, but you don’t expect it to. It’s one of those things that takes you by surprise.”

The store was this afternoon sealed off while Flying Squad detectives investigated.

Speaking to the Ham&High outside the store, owner Andrew Thornton said: “Everybody is OK, but a bit shaken. But nobody got hurt – that’s the main thing.”

Paying tribute to his workers, Mr Thornton added: “They were fantastic. They are absolutely brilliant. It was beyond the call of duty for the four guys who held the guy on the floor.

“At that time we didn’t know whether he had a knife or was armed,” he added.

A Met spokeswoman confirmed a man had been arrested on suspicion of robbery.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:39

The killers of Camden model Harry Uzoka have been jailed for a combined total of more than 60 years.

Yesterday, 14:33

High Court judge Sir Ross Cranston, who last week blocked Transport for London’s (TfL) plans to begin building the CS11 cycle superhighway in Swiss Cottage, has denied TfL permission to appeal his judicial review ruling.

Yesterday, 12:40

Seven months to the day after a single winter night saw two young men stabbed to death, Camden’s youth safety task force – led by Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer and Cllr Abdul Hai – last night recommended a series of measures to arrest the alarming upwards trend in youth violence in the borough.

Thu, 17:30

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Ham&High readers this week.

There are more than 3,000 homeless families housed by Haringey Council in temporary accommodation in the borough and more than another 1,000 housed outside the borough according to Trust for London.

Thu, 15:23

A woman from Temple Fortune turned have-a-go-hero and chased a pair of criminals – causing them to drop a wad of stolen cash – after an elderly woman was robbed at a nearby cashpoint.

Thu, 13:15

Haringey Police are appealing for infomration after a 40 year old woman was sexually assaulted on a Muswell Hill Bus.

Thu, 12:53

Two rogue swans rapidly regretted the decision to land on the Hampstead Heath ponds when the resident swan family chased them off the water and left them “a bit battered” on a grass verge.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now