Police praise Good Samaritans who disarmed bank robber

Police today paid tribute to a collective of good Samaritans who helped apprehend an armed robber in July last year.

They praised those who intervened, after Al-Fodday Fofanah, 30, was jailed for nine and a half years for attempted robbery while out on day release from prison.

A police officer, a trainee ambulance driver, two roofers, two security officers, a bank manager and an ice cream vendor followed him down Borough High St after he pointed as gun at a cashier.

On 25th July last year Fofanah joined the Barclays bank queue, concealing his face with a sheet of paper.

Al-Fodday Fofanah, 30, was jailed for nine and a half years for attempted robbery and other offences. Credit: Metropolitan Police

When he reached the front of the queue, Fofanah pulled a stocking over his face and aimed an assault rifle at the cashier and demanded money.

The cashier dived behind the counter as Fofanah waved the weapon at the other staff. When Fofanah realised no money was forthcoming, he left the bank quickly.

Commander Adrian Hanstock. an off-duty officer from the Safer Transport Command had just left the bank, was confronted with the fleeing suspect.

Hanstock, along with the bank's assistant manager Dean Smith and Michael Duncan - a trainee ambulance driver, followed the suspect down the high street.

Other men joined in and Fofanah was eventually disarmed and held on the ground until police arrived on the scene to arrest him.

Detective chief inspector Paul Johnson said: "Fofanah will now serve a significant sentence for causing fear and panic to those who worked or had visited the bank.

"A number of people assisted with detaining Fofanah following the attempted armed robbery and without their help there is every possibility that he may have got away."I would like to thank the members of the public who demonstrated an enormous amount of bravery in confronting Fofanah."

He was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of attempted armed robbery and two counts of possession of an imitation firearm

A week earlier Fofanah had also attempted to rob a branch of Santander Bank.

The team of helpers were all recommended for a Commissioner's Commendation and received their certificates during a ceremony at New Scotland Yard in January.