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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Man who chased knife thug praised for his bravery

A restaurant worker who helped bring a knife-wielding thug to justice has had his bravery recognised.

Mohammed Hoque photo
High Sheriff Diana Matthews with Mohammed Hoque

Despite being confronted by a balaclava-clad man who was brandishing a knife, 22-year-old Mohammed Hoque kept his cool and refused to hand over any cash.

It happened last October at the Akash Tandoori Restaurant in Tangier Street, Whitehaven.

Would-be robber Edward Hewer fled the scene empty-handed but Mr Hoque followed him and saw him take off his balaclava, allowing him to identify the culprit.

Hewer was later jailed for two years and eight months at Carlisle Crown Court.

At the same court yesterday, Mr Hoque was presented with a High Sheriff’s award.

Judge Barbara Forrester described how Hewer had gone into the restaurant armed with a 5in knife and threatened three waitresses, two of them just 16.

Terrified customers escaped into the kitchen, where Mr Hoque was working. Alerted to the threat, he calmly walked into the restaurant to confront Hewer and talk to him.

The judge said: “Mr Hoque made it clear there would be no money forthcoming, and at that, Mr Hewer ran off. Mr Hoque chased after him.

“The people in the restaurant were very scared... but Mr Hoque stood up to what was going on and protected them, and enabled the police to arrest and charge Mr Hewer with the offences.”

The award, and a cheque for £250 from public funds, was presented by the High Sheriff of Cumbria, Diana Matthews.

Mr Hoque said: “I was thinking that this guy must be crazy to attempt anything like this in this town.” In an earlier interview, he said he felt sorry for the knifeman, adding: “He must have been desperate to do something like this.”

His sister Nadia, in court to see the award presented, said the family were very proud of Mr Hoque.

Mr Hoque has been working part-time in his father’s restaurant since he was 14. He is currently studying journalism at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.

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

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