An armed robber, who was attacked police as he tried to flee a raid on a Tesco forecourt, has been sent to prison for 14 years.

Owen Smith, 29, unemployed of no fixed address, pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court to assault by beating a police constable, possession of an offensive weapon (a baseball bat), robbery and taking a police vehicle without consent. He was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Tuesday October 30.

The offences occurred at around 12.30am on Friday July 6 after a worker at the Tesco site at Redkiln Way, Horsham, called police reporting that two men in balaclavas armed with weapons were stealing cash, cigarettes and alcohol from the shop.

However, a police car on routine patrol happened to pull onto the Tesco Express garage forecourt and discovered the crime in progress.

Smith, saw the officers turn up and ran at them threatening them with a baseball bat. He managed to open the police car door and attack PC Ellie Young, pulling her from her seat.

PC Young received injuries to her arms, legs, neck and shoulder but, along with her colleague PC Vicky Canales, continued to tackle Smith.

Within seconds back-up arrived and Smith was Tasered and arrested. His accomplice ran off and is still being sought.

Detective chief inspector Justina Beeken said: “Watching the CCTV of Owen Smith attacking our officers is absolutely harrowing, not least due to the ferocity of the attack, and I commend the officers’ bravery and commitment that evening in arresting him.
“No officer should be attacked while doing their job and I am thankful that no officers were more seriously hurt.

“I also commend those members of the public and officers who ran to their colleagues’ assistance, trying to prevent Smith from getting away from the scene, without a moment’s thought for their own safety.

“Smith’s behaviour has also had an impact on those working in the Tesco Express that evening who were also threatened while going about their job.”