"their actions may well have saved other people from being victims.”
Rashpal Singh, aged 40, of Foleshill, Coventry, was jailed for six years and nine months for two armed robberies. The bank robber threatened customers at knifepoint at Coventry banks.
After his arrest, police discovered that he was responsible for another raid, which took place the previous day.
Coventry Crown Court heard that Singh had gone into Barclay’s Bank, Tile Hill, on February 15, 2019, at 2:20 pm.
He demanded cash before holding a knife to a 71-year-old woman’s throat.
Singh passed staff a bag to fill with cash. He then threatened to slit the elderly customer’s throat if the bag was not returned by the time he counted to 10.
He fled but was pursued by two men who caught up with him in Elm Tree Avenue. One of the men rugby-tackled him to the ground.
Just minutes later, officers arrived to arrest Singh. They searched the area where they found a knife and balaclava that he had discarded during the pursuit.
West Midlands Police later found out that Singh had committed a similar robbery the day before.
A bank robber had gone into Coventry Building Society, Foleshill, just before midday on February 14, and held a knife to a female customer’s throat before fleeing with approximately £6,000.
Detectives reviewed CCTV footage and discovered that Singh was wearing the same clothes, including the distinctive brown brogues as the thief at Coventry Building Society.
Singh was charged with two counts of robbery and one of possessing a bladed article.
After initially denying the charges against him, Singh admitted to the robberies but claimed he was pressured into carrying out the raids.
He said that two men had been threatening him for money.
West Midlands Police praised the two members of the public for their bravery in chasing down Singh. Detective Constable Chris Parry, of West Midlands Police Force CID, said:
“Singh put two women through shocking ordeals, with knives held to their necks, as he took them hostage in the banks.
“Thankfully no-one was physically hurt but we can’t underestimate the psychological impact of being caught up in an event like this.
“The two customers in the bank who gave chase showed tremendous courage and public spirit in detaining Singh.”
“And holding him down for a few minutes before police arrived on the scene.
“My thanks goes to them – and they should be rightly proud that their actions may well have saved other people from being victims.”
Rashpal Singh was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison on November 18, 2019.