Masked raider armed with claw hammer tackled by Sheffield police officer

Jason Mullins, 47, of Birdwell Road, Grimethorpe has been jailed for four years after he admitted to carrying out an armed robbery of a Sheffield petrol station
Jason Mullins, 47, of Birdwell Road, Grimethorpe has been jailed for four years after he admitted to carrying out an armed robbery of a Sheffield petrol station
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A heroic Sheffield police officer who tackled a masked robber who came at him with a claw hammer has been commended for his 'courage and professionalism'.

Sheffield Crown Court was told how when Jason Mullins, aged 47, ran out of the City Road service station in Arbourthorne he had just robbed, on seeing PC Mark Cooper standing yards away from him he threatened to attack him with the claw hammer he was armed with.

But this did not stop PC Cooper from tackling Mullins, of Birdwell Road, Grimethorpe to the ground in the petrol station forecourt, before arresting him.

During Thursday's sentencing, CCTV footage of Mullins being apprehended played in court showed how brave PC Cooper did not hesitate as he went to tackle Mullins, who was wearing a balaclava during the entirety of the robbery on November 30 last year.

After sentencing Mullins to four years in prison, Judge Michael Slater commended PC Cooper for his bravery, and said: "I am minded to note the courage and professionalism shown by PC Cooper when tackling the defendant."

Mere moments before being apprehended by PC Cooper, Mullins had run into the petrol station shop, jumped over the counter and headed for the till.

Fearing for her safety, the young, female staff member working behind the till ran into the back room of the petrol station where she and another member of staff locked themselves in while Mullins raided the till.

Prosecuting David Wain told the court how another member of staff had gone to enter the shop floor as Mullins was collecting the £477 left in the till.

He said: "The defendant looked at him and said 'you're not going to do anything stupid, are you?'.

"The member of staff also went into the back room and locked himself in."

During the course of the robbery a member of the public, who entered the petrol station shop and quickly left when he saw Mullins emptying the till, flagged down PC Cooper who happened to be passing as the robbery was taking place.

Mr Wain said: "He arrived just as the defendant emerged, holding a lump hammer.

"PC Cooper then tackled the defendant, who was taken into custody on leaving the [petrol] station.

Defending Mullins, who has 27 previous convictions from 129 offences, Kevin Jones said in mitigation: "His poor education and subsequent drug and alcohol addictions have caused him long-standing difficulties.

"He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He is almost like a revolving door case and his age is something of a significant factor. He hopes to be able to become drug free while serving his inevitable sentence."

Mullins admitted one count of robbery and one count of possession of an offensive weapon at an earlier hearing.

Mr Wain argued that Mullins should not be given credit for his guilty plea due to the 'overwhelming' amount of evidence against him, due to the CCTV footage and the fact he was apprehended by a police officer at the scene of the crime.

This was dismissed by Judge Slater, who reduced Mullins' sentence of six years to four after awarding him a discount of a third off his sentence for pleading guilty at the first opportunity.