Owen Smith, 29, unemployed of no fixed address pleaded guilty on August 30 at Hove Crown Court to assault by beating a police constable, possession of an offensive weapon, namely a baseball bat, robbery and taking a police vehicle without consent.
He was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Tuesday (October 30).
The offence was captioned on CCTV at the shop and petrol station.
A Tesco worker managed to escape the scene of a robbery at Redkiln Way, Horsham around 12.30am on Friday July 6 and called police reporting that two men in balaclavas armed with weapons were stealing cash, cigarettes and alcohol from the shop.
An assessment was being carried out when a police car on routine patrol happened to pull onto the Tesco Express garage forecourt and discovered the crime in progress. The officers quickly called for assistance from other units, while trying to get other members of the public, who were turning up at petrol station, to stay away.
However Smith, had seen 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 bravely, she, 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 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.”
Two men arrested in Horsham for vehicle interference
Two men have been arrested for vehicle interference in Horsham in the latest bid to robustly tackle the issue.
Officers received a call from a member of the public on Tuesday 13 November to report men trying car door handles in Horsham.
Darion Bates, 51, was arrested and charged with two counts of vehicle interference after he matched a description provided. Bates, of no fixed address, pleaded not guilty to both charges at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (14 November). He was remanded in custody and is due to stand trial at Horsham Magistrates’ Court on 7 January.
A 53-year-old man of no fixed address was also arrested on suspicion of vehicle interference and going equipped for theft of a motor vehicle. He was later released under investigation and enquiries are ongoing.
Sarah Leadbeatter, Prevention Inspector in Horsham, said:
“Vehicle crime is one of our main priorities in Horsham. We are aware of the impact it is having on local communities and we are committed to addressing this issue.
“We have increased patrol in and around Horsham and are being proactive in using our police powers in terms of stop and searches and identifying suspects on CCTV.
“The arrests over the last week show that we are not taking this behaviour lightly and it will not be tolerated.
“We urge everyone to read our advice below on how to protect your vehicle from being broken into. Make sure you don’t leave anything on display, park in a well-lit area and ensure they are always locked and secure.
“Please report any suspicious behaviour to us immediately and help us tackle this issue as a community.”
To report an issue of vehicle crime please go online or call 101 quoting Operation Blackout. If you see a crime taking place please dial 999 without delay.