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Store supervisor given medal for civilian bravery

CIVILIAN BRAVEY: Colin Thomas, (left) with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, was honoured at ceremony

HAVING ALMOST died after being shot trying to prevent a robbery, Colin Thomas was presented with a bravery award at a ceremony in Manchester yesterday (May 24).

The 27-year-old store supervisor of Costco cash and carry in Croydon, south London, heard an alarm go off as five men in balaclavas smashed cabinets and demanded money on September 17, 2009.

Thomas confronted the gang, who made off with £70,000 worth of jewellery, before being shot in stomach with a sawded-off shotgun at close range as the masked men made their getaway.

Thomas received the Binney Medal for civilian bravery for attempting to stop the robbers.

Recollecting about the ordeal, Thomas told The Evening Standard: “It all seemed to happen in seconds. I heard the alarm go off and glass shattering and ran over.

The gunman shot me in the stomach. There was no warning and he was standing just a few feet from me wearing a balaclava.”

He continued: “I was conscious but felt the life draining out of me. I started to feel really weak, like my body was shutting down. I was scared, I thought I was probably going to die.

“When the ambulance came I felt I had a fighting chance and when the ambulance guy told me my pulse was stable it felt like really good news.”

After spending five weeks in intensive care and undergoing five operations, the last of which was in November, Thomas has returned to work at the same place.

A 22-year prison sentence was given to gunman Yohan Clarke.

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