A MASKED armed robber who collapsed and died after being disarmed and pinned down by customers in a bookies was named by police yesterday.
Alan Levers, 50, was wearing a gas mask and holding a gun when he stormed into a Ladbrokes branch in Plymouth on Friday night.
Customers disarmed the man and held him on the floor. Police arrested Levers, who was already unconscious, upon arrival but he was declared dead a short time later.
The incident has been voluntarily referred to the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “It quickly became clear the man was unresponsive and an ambulance was immediately requested by police, who carried out CPR until they arrived.
“A few minutes later, three paramedics arrived at the scene and continued to carry out further CPR. Around 20 minutes later, the man was declared dead at the scene by the paramedics.”
The Ladbrokes branch remained closed yesterday, with two uniformed police officers on duty outside.
Plymouth police commander Chief Superintendent Andy Bickley said yesterday that the gun had been examined and appeared to be an imitation pistol, although he emphasised there was no way of knowing that during the incident.
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.
“The actions taken by members of the public in the shop were brave and showed a disregard for their own safety,” Bickley said.
Levers’ family, as well as witnesses inside the bookies at the time of the incident, are being supported by police.
A public appeal for information and for witnesses to come forward has been issued.
David Walker, 55, from West Park, Plymouth, said he had walked into the shop just five minutes after the incident happened.
“I went in about 6.55pm to put a bet on the football,” he said. “When I went in there, they were on the floor, they were scuffling on the floor. I thought it was just a fight or something.
“The bloke behind the counter told me they weren’t taking any bets and I had to leave.
“I didn’t see their faces, as they were holding the guy down at the back of the shop. I couldn’t see any mask and there wasn’t any physical movement, they were just holding him.”
Several customers turned up at the building to try to place bets yesterday, but were turned away.
Later a sign was placed in the window saying that the shop was closed “due to unforeseen circumstances”.