Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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Cash reward for man who foiled robbery at Cumbrian restaurant

A restaurateur who faced down a knife-wielding robber has been praised by a judge and will receive a £250 reward for his bravery.

Mohammed Hoque photo
Mohammed Hoque

Mohammed Hoque, 22, refused to hand over cash when a balaclava-clad man brandishing a knife walked into the Akash Tandoori Restaurant in Tangier Street, Whitehaven, and demanded money.

The robber, Edward Hewer, left empty handed and was arrested soon after.

He was jailed for 32 months when he appeared before Judge Paul Batty at Carlisle Crown Court.

The judge said: “This is an attempted robbery but it is an ‘attempted’ because of the actions of Mr Hoque.

“Had it not been for his actions it would have been entirely successful.”

He described the restaurateur as “a very brave man”, adding: “The court salutes him and he will be the subject of a High Sheriff reward of £250.”

Mr Hoque told the News & Star he had little time to think when events unfolded on the evening of October 5. He said: “One of the waitresses came running through to the store room and said, ‘There’s a guy with a knife’.

“At first I thought she was joking – this sort of thing doesn’t happen very often in Cumbria – then I saw him.

“It was probably the wrong assumption to make, but I thought if I just asserted myself he would go.

“I said, ‘We are going to call the police so you might as well leave now’.

“He did go and I followed him for a bit then turned back.

“With hindsight it was a risky thing to do.”

Mr Hoque has been working part time in his father’s restaurant since he was 14.

He is currently a journalism and media student at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.

He said: “If I’d been working for Tesco I might not have done what I did but this is a family business. It’s different when it’s your own money.”

He added: “I actually feel sorry for him. He must have been desperate to do something like this.

“We weren’t that busy. Even if he had robbed us he wouldn’t have got much, and would still have been caught. The £250 reward will come in handy to pay my parking fines.”

Hewer, 30, of North Road, Whitehaven, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery.

The court heard he was wearing a sleeve with eye holes cut into it – described as a “home-made balaclava” – and carrying a knife with a five inch blade. He confronted three waitresses, two of whom were just 16, demanding money from the till.

Greg Hoare, defending, said: “He had got himself into a very unusual state over a minor debt. I don’t think Mr Hewer can even begin to explain stupidity of his actions that day.”


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