Brave staff at Thornton’s Budgens in Belsize Park, London, managed to restrain an armed robber until police arrived to arrest him.

Earlier this month, the hooded figure entered the store carrying what appeared to be a sawn-off shot-gun and made his way into the post office area where he began taking cash from the tills. But four men from the store’s Welcome & Safety team pinned the man to the floor and held him until the police came.

“I happened to be on the spot at the time so I could assess that it wasn’t a real gun and that the guy didn’t have a knife and therefore it was safe to apprehend him,” said owner Andrew Thornton.

“This guy was then held on to for what felt like forever, but was only six or seven minutes until the police arrived. They had been trying to catch him for a long time and he pleaded guilty to several offences in all sorts of different places.”

Andrew sang his staff’s praises, claiming that they showed “extraordinary teamwork, courage and unity”.

“How the team cared for each other was really something – someone went and did a round of Starbucks while the store was closed and we were waiting for the Flying Squad to come and do statements. Then there were messages that went out that day and the next day on our company Whatsapp group about how safe everybody felt because of the presence of these strong men who are responsible for the safety of everybody,” he added.

“We had a meeting the following day about what happened. There was a lot of emotion, but most of the tears were around how safe people felt and honouring their colleagues.”