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Police name robber after death
A masked armed robber who collapsed and died after being disarmed and pinned down by customers in a bookies has been named by police as Alan Levers.
The 50-year-old was believed to be wearing a gas mask and holding a gun when he stormed into the Ladbrokes branch on Crownhill Road in Plymouth, Devon, shortly before 7pm on Friday night.
Brave customers disarmed the man, Devon and Cornwall Police said, and held him on the floor while others raised the alarm. Police arrested Levers, who was already unconscious, upon arrival, but he was declared dead a short time later.
Reading a statement outside Crownhill Police Station, Plymouth police commander Chief Superintendent Andy Bickley said the gun had been examined and appeared to be an imitation pistol.
He added that the four men in the betting shop at the time of the incident have been helping police with their inquiries and that no-one has been arrested in relation to the incident.
He said: "The deceased is a 50-year-old man from the Honicknowle area of the city. A forensic post-mortem has been carried out today but formal identification has not yet been completed. Police though can confirm that this man is locally known as Alan Levers."
He added: "I can share with you that the firearm has been initially examined by a police firearms officer and it appears to be an imitation pistol, though this still needs to be verified. I would like to add, however, that there would have been no way of knowing this at the time of the incident.
"The actions taken by members of the public in the shop were brave and showed a disregard for their own safety."
Mr Bickley said the incident has been voluntarily referred to the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), although at this time Devon and Cornwall Police is leading the investigation.
David Walker, 55, from West Park, Plymouth, said he walked into the shop just five minutes after the incident happened. He said: "When I went in there, they were on the floor, they were scuffling on the floor... I didn't see their faces, as they were holding the guy down at the back of the shop."