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Bravery award handed to jeweller who tackled armed robber

18 November 2016
A jeweller who tackled an armed robber has received a national bravery award.

James Mortimer, who runs and is part owner of Newcombes@54 jewellers in Cheap Street in Sherborne, was handed a gold medal at the NPCC Police and Public Bravery Awards in London on Tuesday 15 November 2016.

The award recognised the brave actions he took when an attempted armed robbery took place in his store on Thursday 23 July 2015.

At approximately 10am James was in his office working at the computer when he heard screams from his colleague Margaret Hurman.

A man entered the shop wearing a black hooded jacket with the hood up, sunglasses, black gloves and a scarf covering his mouth. He carried a silver-coloured handgun in his right hand.

Margaret immediately closed the door between the shop area and the office, but the robber pushed the door open and entered the office.

James quickly spotted the handgun and grabbed the offender's right arm. He then twisted it, causing the offender to spin round and face the wall. He asked his colleague to call the police.

The offender bit James and hit him on the head with the gun. James released his grip and as the offender went to leave the office, James rugby-tackled the man to the floor.

Both men fell against the shop counter and onto the floor. James jumped on top of the offender and pinned down his arms.

Two members of the public came to James’ aid and helped to restrain the offender before police officers arrived.

The firearm turned out to be an imitation weapon, however this was not established until after the man was arrested. 

On Friday 28 August 2015, 48-year-old John William Fields from Dorchester was jailed for six years for attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. 

Dorset Police’s Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: “James put himself in harm’s way to apprehend the offender. The bravery he displayed that day was breathtaking and I am delighted that he has been recognised with this national award.”

James said: “It was an honour to attend the award ceremony and meet so many people who had acted selflessly to help others, but I don’t feel as though I did anything differently that day than anyone else would have done.” 

The awards recognise members of the public for actions, which support the police in preserving law and order. This year’s awards ceremony recognised the acts of 94 people for their courage and bravery.

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