Off-duty officer who arrested dangerous knife-wielding robber during shopping trip nominated for award

An off-duty police officer who arrested a dangerous knife-wielding robber during a shopping trip in Leeds has been nominated for an award.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 4:45 pm

PC Neil Masheder’s superb actions – running towards danger despite not being in uniform or having protective equipment - will now see him join more than 90 colleagues from across England and Wales nominated for their courageous acts at the prestigious National Police Bravery Awards Event in London this October.

The officer was shopping at a supermarket in Leeds on September 10, 2019, when he saw a stolen Seat Leon car in the car park.

The car had been taken during a burglary along with cash and had been used in two knifepoint robberies of a man and a convenience store in Kirklees.

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PC Neil Masheder

The suspects had also used the vehicle for another burglary in which they stole two more cars.

During the convenience store robbery, the men had dragged two female shopworkers into the office to demand they open the safe all the while threatening them with harm.

The car thefts were carried out in the middle of an afternoon during which they threatened to stab their female victim as they took her car keys and jewellery.

Her cars were later found, but the perpetrators were still using the Seat for their crime spree and had changed the number plate to avoid detection, something which had been reported to the police by a member of the public.

Now the Seat was parked in a disabled bay with two occupants inside.

Realising the suspects needed to brought in to prevent further harm to the public, PC Masheder rang in the sighting to the control room.

As he did so, he spotted the driver returning to the vehicle and stayed on the call to keep officers abreast of the situation.

However, the suspects then prepared to leave the supermarket car park, prompting PC Masheder to intervene.

Without any PPE and despite being off-duty, PC Masheder arrested the driver after a violent struggle.

Armed and dangerous, he knew they had to be taken off the streets, but as he was off-duty, he had no PPE or means to get them detained.

His accomplices who attempted to flee the scene were soon found and arrested by attending officers.

The three were convicted at the conclusion of a nine-day trial at Leeds Crown Court in March but jumped the dock and escaped from the court building.

They were pursued by officers who had been at court, including PC Masheder, and all were quickly detained, with two of them having fled two miles away to the Hyde Park area.

The third defendant was arrested in a pub in Leeds city centre.

All three were charged with escaping lawful custody. They were jailed for a total of 52 years for all their crimes in May 2020.

West Yorkshire Police Federation Chair Brian Booth commended PC Masheder’s actions saying he certainly prevented more members of the public being robbed and harmed.

“West Yorkshire Police officers are never off-duty and what an incredibly selfless and courageous act,” he said.

“These three violent and despicable criminals were playing a real-life game of Grand Theft Auto. They were armed and dangerous and had already robbed and threatened several people at knifepoint.

“If Neil hadn’t bravely intervened on his day off, they would have gone on to carry a lot more violent crime.

“It’s especially impressive given he had no PPE or means of detaining them apart from his determination and dedication. Neil is a very worthy West Yorkshire nominee in The National Police Bravery Awards.”

The 2020 event – the 25th National Police Bravery Awards - had originally been scheduled to take place last summer but had to be cancelled due to Coronavirus.

The Awards, which honour officers from across England and Wales who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty, are now being held this October 12.

As a nominee PC Masheder will attend a prestigious daytime reception and evening awards ceremony in London.

The National Police Bravery Awards are sponsored by Police Mutual.