Video footage has emerged of a man who bravely stopped a bank robbery and chased the robber out of the bank. James Rowley started shouting abuse at the robber when he realised his gun was fake, before chasing him down the street with a fire extinguisher, overpowering him and holding him down as he waited for the police to arrive.
Mr Rowley told the London Evening Standard: “I was in a bad mood. I’d been dashing around all morning like a headless chicken trying to get the cheques and money together to pay the bills.
“I was at the counter and I saw this guy walk in with a crash helmet on. I just thought ‘here we go’. I knew what was going to happen next and I wasn’t in the mood for it.”
Mr Rowley says he shouted “a few choice words” at the robber, Andrew Fernandez, before chasing him out of the branch.
Although he wasn’t certain the firearm was fake, he decided to intervene anyway: “I didn’t know for certain that it was an imitation firearm, but I called his bluff. I said a few words to him and he hesitated, that’s when it clicked it was a fake. I was in the army cadets many years ago but as far as guns go that’s it.
“I’ve never been in a situation like that before, I just acted on instinct. I chased him up the road with a fire extinguisher and when I caught up with him he hit me over the head with his crash helmet and knocked me to the floor.
“My friend grabbed him and we both held onto him until the police turned up. By that point he knew he wasn’t going anywhere.”
Mr Rowley was presented with a Commendation by Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, and will also be awarded the Police Public Bravery Award on Thursday. He also received £1,200 from the sheriff’s fund for bravery.
Detective Sergeant David Barnfather of the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad said: “The bravery of James Rowley was truly remarkable in confronting what was for all intents and purposes, an armed and extremely dangerous criminal.
“His courage and sense of civic duty are to be applauded and thanks to him Fernandez is behind bars.”