Shortwood United captain Tom Hoskins tackles ‘armed raider’ at Tesco

THE captain of a Nailsworth football team knocked an alleged armed robber off his bike as he tried to escape yesterday.

Tom Hoskins, 26, who captains Shortwood United, chased down a suspect who allegedly brandished a hammer while trying to leave Tesco Express in Abbeymead.

Gloucestershire police confirmed that the incident occurred shortly before 8pm on Sunday, where they were called to reports of armed robbery and money being taken from a till. 

They said an off-duty officer detained a man with the help of members of the public.

Tom was in his local supermarket buying bin bags when he heard a commotion in one of the aisles. 

“A man came into my eye view, he was wearing a balaclava and a blue jumper, and I was thinking of tackling him there and then,” said Tom.

“But there was a barrier in front of him and he was very angry.”

The suspect allegedly took the money from the till and then left the store.

“I quickly went to the lady on the till and asked her if she was ok and I said I will get him,” Tom said.

“He then got on his bike and I came running out, luckily an off duty police officer chased him and in my head I was thinking there is two of us now, so I wanted to back the officer up as I thought the suspect might have a hammer, the officer shouted police which shook the guy up and made him wobble on his bike.

“I then sprinted past the police officer and knocked the man off his bike and pushed a hammer out of his hand.

“Myself and the officer then restrained him until the police came.

“I found a lot of money and I took it from him, the police came really quickly and they took over.”

Tom is a lifecoach, and runs a business called Chance is Change, which is a life coaching and mentoring service for children and young people who are struggling with mental health and behaviour issues, as well as for young people who need advice in life.

Tom said he would like to talk to the arrested man and is eager to help.

“Any young person who commits an offence like this has been failed by someone in the system,” said Tom.

“I really want to help people like this and give them a chance to change.

“It was a silly decision that has affected a lot of people but we have to see the bigger picture, and these people need help which I’m willing to give.

“I also stayed afterwards and spoke to the Tesco colleague and gave her some positive advice as she was in tears, so I was able to change her mindset and she went away smiling which was amazing.

“She did everything right and hats off to everyone as it went in our favour and no one got hurt which is the main thing.”

Gloucestershire police also released a statement following the incident.

A spokesperson said: “An off-duty officer and members of the public detained a male carrying a hammer following a robbery at a Tesco Express in Abbeymead.

“Shortly after 8pm yesterday (Sunday January 5) police were called with a report of an armed robbery at the supermarket on Mead Road where money had been taken from the till.

“As the suspect tried to flee on a bike he was apprehended by the off-duty Inspector and assisted by numerous members of the public before officers arrived.

“Gloucestershire Constabulary would like to thank all those who assisted.

“No-one suffered physical injuries in the incident.

“A 17-year-old from Gloucester was arrested on suspicion of robbery and remains in custody to be questioned.”

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