70-year-old NRI hailed for bravery in UK | india | Hindustan Times
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70-year-old NRI hailed for bravery in UK

india Updated: Jan 31, 2009 05:36 IST

A 70-year-old shop employee of Indian origin has been awarded 300 pounds as a bravery award, for fearlessly fending off a robber who brandished a knife and took a customer hostage in his shop.

Harbhajan Singh, who works at the Costcutter store in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, showed no fear when the robber threatened him with a knife. Singh hit him over his head with an iron bar.

"I didn't have any fear, my daughter and family were in trouble and I had to protect them. My aim was to disarm him so I hit him on the hand to make him drop the gun, but he came back with a knife, so I hit him on the head," Singh said.

For his actions, grandfather Singh has been hailed locally as a hero and dubbed the "Turbanator".

He was working behind the till of the shop when one Deryk Traylen ran into the shop claiming to have a gun and took a customer hostage.

Traylen, 35, locked the shop door then went up to the counter and demanded money from Singh's son-in-law.

But, Singh grabbed an iron bar from behind the shop counter, then crept up behind the robber and hit him on the hand to disarm him.

Traylen then pretended to leave but came back with a 12 inch knife, so the elderly shop worker hit him over the head.

Singh's daughter and son-in-law then stopped the man escaping while they waited for the police.

Hardeep Kaur, Singh's daughter, said, "Dad knew it was dangerous but hit the man on the head. He fell down and dad fell down too. We managed to get the knife out of his hand. He tried to run away but some customers came into the shop and helped us to stop him escaping."

"Dad was a bit shaken afterwards. We are all very proud of him."

Traylen has now been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted robbery, common assault and possession of an imitation firearm and an offensive weapon.

Judge Catterson, who heard the case at St Albans Crown Court, has ordered a 300 pounds bravery award for Singh's heroic actions.

Detective Sergeant Kerry Bull of the Hertfordshire Police, said, "Mr Singh's actions that morning were commendable and it is right that he has been recognised for his bravery by Judge Catterson."

"However, I would always urge caution if people are faced with a similar situation."