‘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.

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices