Photo: Leicestershire Police

An Evington retailer who used his prowess in martial arts to overpower a pistol-wielding robber has won a bravery award from Leicestershire Police.

Sibu Kuruvilla has been commended with the award at the Chief Constable Awards Ceremony held earlier this month as his presence of mind led to the 18-year-old offender being sentenced to four years in prison.

Kuruvilla, along with shop assistant Najeeb Nazeer, was about to close his Premier Supersaver store in Evington on the Christmas Eve in 2017 when Ayoub Tarey entered with what appeared to be a pistol.

Tarey dragged Kuruvilla towards the till, pointing the gun towards his head. However, Kuruvilla, a 1st dan black belt in Seibukan karate, used a leg lock to wrestle Tarey into submission.

Nazeer in the meantime activated the store’s silent panic alarm, and both held Tarey till the police arrived 15 minutes later.

“I did what I did to protect my family and my livelihood,” Kuruvilla said after receiving the award.

“We opened the shop as usual the morning after the attack, it was Christmas Day – I run a community store and people needed us to be open.”

Tarey was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison at Leicester Crown Court in June 2018. He admitted to ten other offences including four robberies and an attempted robbery at various stores in the area.

“The police did an excellent job collecting evidence from the shop, we were relieved with the prison sentence Tarey was given and I hope that by being in prison he has had time to reflect on what he did and his learned the error of his ways,” Kuruvilla added.