‘I am no hero’, says waiter who tackled Selfridges raider

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Two of six suspects in smash-and-grab robbery are captured as getaway moped crashes nearby

A waiter who tackled a member of an axe-wielding, burka-clad gang after a smash-and-grab raid at Selfridges has denied being a hero – saying he did “what any human being would do”.

Mohamed Hussein, who works in a pizza restaurant, ran out and pinned down one of the robbers near the department store in Oxford Street in central London.

The 29-year-old bodybuilder and law student, described as a “Vin Diesel action hero,” held the man with the help of others nearby. Yesterday, he said: “I feel confident anyone would do this. I am no hero.”

Scotland Yard said a group of six men, all dressed in burkas, entered the store at about 8.30pm, just before closing time on Thursday. Witnesses said it appeared the men had disguised themselves as rich Arab women, with some carrying designer handbags. They mingled with hundreds of shoppers before producing axes and smashing their way into display cabinets, stuffing dozens of watches worth tens of thousands of pounds into bags. They fled and jumped on to at least three waiting motorcycles.

Anuj Dabeesingh, 22, a student from Uxbridge, who was shopping in the menswear section on the first floor, said: “I saw four men completely in burkas, posing as women carrying women’s handbags. At first I thought it was a shot, a spray of glass shattering, breaking – we heard that and people were just running about.

“I saw a staff member lying on the ground and then we saw four men running, trying to get away. That all happened in under a minute.”

Two of the raiders got on to a moped but it crashed yards from Selfridges. One, dressed in a burka, struggled to rise after breaking his leg and the other, in a bike helmet, was wrestled to the ground by Mr Hussein.

Matthew Carrozo, 28, a visual marketing manager from east London, who had been having a drink near where the moped crashed, said: “All of a sudden this guy who looks like Vin Diesel came out and pinned the guy in the bike helmet to the ground. He struggled but people started pouncing on this guy.

“They held him down for about 10 minutes until the police arrived.There were about six or seven really expensive watches strewn across the road and dozens in the duffle bag which had come open a bit.”

Scotland Yard praised the “brave and quick-thinking” people who tackled two members of the gang. One thief was being treated in hospital for a broken leg and the man cornered by Mr Hussein was being interviewed at a central London police station. Two other stolen motorcycles were found in the Paddington area.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Noyes, of the Flying Squad, said: “This was a brazen robbery and appears to have been well planned and thought through. Fortunately, no one was injured. The store was very busy and this will have been a shocking thing for people to witness.

“I would like to thank those members of the public who stepped in and detained our two suspects. Their quick thinking and brave actions have helped our investigation.”

Police appealed for anyone who witnessed the robbery to contact them.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes