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‘Outstandingly brave’ firefighter hailed for single-handedly capturing armed robber during Bolton Post Office raid

By Dean Wilkins

A brave Manchester firefighter is being hailed for single handedly capturing a would-be robber as judges sentenced the offender to five years in prison.

Bolton’s Dan Winters was commended by judges for tackling Kris Whittaker, 31, of Bradshaw Mews, after he attempted to hold up a Post Office in August.

Mr Winters saw screaming members of the public flee the Post Office on Lea Gate, Harwood, and immediately chased the culprit who was holding an imitation gun – he and a van driver nearby pinned down the offender until police arrived.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Bolton Borough Manager Ian Bailey said: “It is another indication of the public-spirited nature of our firefighters – when they see something that needs doing, they act and they act quickly.

“I would not expect anything less as that is the type of people they are and will do anything they can to help the communities they serve.

“However, that does not take away from the fact Dan acted in an outstanding way and helped take a dangerous offender off the streets because of that bravery.”

Mr Winters – who has been a firefighter for eight years – is also a boxer for GMFRS and instinctively jumped into action to save the community.

Whittaker pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit a crime at an earlier hearing and was sentenced at Bolton Crown Court.

Mr Winters said: “A woman with a baby in a pram and another woman came running out, all the alarms went off and then a man came out wearing a gorilla mask.

“He looked around, I think looking for his getaway car but I assume we’d scared them off with the fire engine.

“Our driver put the blue lights and sirens on and I jumped off the engine and chased him.

“I caught up with him at the same time as a van driver who’d got involved – we pinned him down and took his mask and what we thought was a gun off him.”

Whittaker’s gun turned out to be two pieces of pipe taped together.

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