Shop workers held up during Leeds armed robbery receive police bravery award

TESCO staff have been honoured for their bravery, after a violent and terrifying armed robbery in a Leeds store.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 6:12 pm

The shop workers were at Tesco Express in Cookridge when three masked, armed raiders burst in, threatening staff and beating them with a hammer during the raid, as the men tried in vain to get the store’s safe open.

They fled the scene with money from the till and cigarettes, but were soon arrested after being tracked by a device hidden inside the cash.

The three men - Bradley Myers, 24, Bradley Turner, 23 and John Turner, 29 - who carried out the robbery, were handed extended prison sentences totalling nearly 50 years after the “terrifying” raid in April 2018. They pleaded guilty to the offences.

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CCTV from West Yorkshire Police of terrifying armed robbery at Tesco Express in Cookridge, April 2018.

At the Leeds District Policing Awards, Tesco workers Sophie Wood, Philippa Beck and Daniel Johnson each received District Commander’s Commendation, along with three detectives who worked on the case.

Philippa Beck, 41, of Leeds, said: “ When it was happening, it was like watching it all take place from above and seemed unreal; it was a dream like situation.

“When the robbers came into the shop, it took quite a few seconds for me to realise what was happening.

“After the event I had three months off work and suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder and things were so bad I couldn’t go out on my own for a time. It was quite an ordeal.”

CCTV from terrifying raid at Tesco Express in Cookridge, April 2018.

Chief Inspector Dan Wood, of West Yorkshire Police, told the Tesco staff at the awards ceremony: “This award is in recognition of your outstanding courageousness and bravery whilst under stress during a violent robbery.”

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC told Leeds Crown Court when he sentenced the men: “This was a terrifying robbery. As expected this has had a profound psychological effect on some of the victims.”

One staff worker, in his 20s, who was dragged by his hair, threatened with an axe, beaten several times with a hammer and punched in the head, was also diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the robbery.

Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector James Entwistle, of Leeds District CID, said: “Although these three were only in the store for about three minutes, I know it will have felt like a lifetime for the staff and customers who were put through an absolutely terrifying ordeal by them.

Sophie Wood and Phillipa Beck, Tesco workers who received bravery awards following a terrifying armed robbery at Tesco Express in Cookridge in April 2018.

“The victims were threatened with weapons and assaulted and put in genuine fear for their lives all so that these men could steal cash and cigarettes.

“We do not underestimate the traumatic effect their actions have had on the victims’ lives and we hope those who suffered at their hands can take some comfort from knowing that they have now had to answer for what they did.

Police officers Det Insp Naeem Khan, Det Constable Gavin Keany and Det Con Darren Machell were also honoured at the ceremony.

Chief Insp Wood added: “In recognition of your excellent work ethic, professionalism and commitment in dealing with a report of a violent robbery.

“Your collective effort and superb interdepartmental teamwork resulted in the recovery of stolen property and weapons. The offenders were swiftly brought to justice and a potential crime spree was prevented.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “We are extremely proud of the way Sophie, Philippa and Daniel responded and supported the police following this very difficult incident.”