Police nominate Scunthorpe shopkeeper for bravery award
A SHOPKEEPER who came face-to-face with a masked gunman has been put forward for a national bravery award by the officers he helped to catch the culprit.
Gurch Singh, owner of Premier Convenience Store on Wells Street chased the gunman through the streets of Scunthorpe, just moments after he opened fire in his store.
Detective Superintendent Christine Wilson led the Major Incident Team in Scunthorpe that tracked down 21-year-old Warren Walker, of Spencer Avenue, Scunthorpe.
Speaking after the sentence Ms Wilson praised the actions of Mr Singh.
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"Gurch Singh has been absolutely fantastic," she said. "He's been a real support all the way through the case – he released the CCTV to us so quickly.
"You cannot begin to imagine how terrified he must have been (after the shot was fired) but to then go running out of the shop after him to try and help was so brave.
"So much so, that we have put Mr Singh forward for a national bravery award."
Ms Wilson said that DNA evidence left at the scene linked Walker to the crime and CCTV cameras helped dispel his version of events.
"It was about 10 days after the robbery that he was arrested so we were looking for him for quite a long time," she said.
"We had someone in custody on that night but were able to eliminate them quite quickly.
"Three days after we were able to get finger and palm prints from the plastic bag, so we then had to try and get Warren Walker in to custody and build the case from there.
"It was a huge operation to get him in to custody and then more work to charge him. We searched through hundreds of CCTV cameras to track the route that he had taken."
CCTV footage saw Walker jump over a fence and dig up the gun from a field, prior to the offence.
He was then seen carrying the gun in the plastic bag through a ten-foot towards the store.
After the robbery, Walker was followed to the address of the drug dealer.
Officers noted he changed his clothes at the address as he was wearing a different set when he later walked towards The Lord Roberts pub, in Wells Street.
"Because the gun was still outstanding, firearms response teams were sent out to ensure the safety of the public and police as we did not know whether he still had the gun," said Ms Wilson.
Walker was arrested in the street but the double-barrelled shotgun used in the robbery was never recovered.
Ms Wilson said a huge amount of work had gone in to recovering the gun, but said it was "almost impossible" without the help of Walker.
Part of the case against Walker was built up from evidence given by his then girlfriend.
Ms Wilson said: "She told us she heard the conversation about the gun with the drug dealer. This was very important as it gave us an insight in to the criminal circles he was operating in."
Ms Wilson said the last time a similar offence in which a gun was discharged in Scunthorpe was around 30 years ago.