A man who brandished a handgun at a female store assistant has been sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. 

Paul Hensley, 57 (31.01.61) of Code Street, E1 entered the Tag Heuer store on Brushfield Street in Spittlefields on Monday, 4 June shortly after 10:40hrs. He produced a large handgun and threatened the lone female staff member on the shop floor, demanding that she open the cabinets and place a quantity of high-value watches in the yellow bag he had handed to her. 

The store manager, working in the downstairs CCTV room, saw the attack and activated the store smoke device. This caused smoke to engulf the suspect and Paul fled empty handed from the store.

Officers from the Flying Squad attended the venue and commenced a detailed search of CCTV. During the attempted robbery, Hensley had kept his head and face covered, however, detectives retraced his steps using CCTV and found a clear image of him several streets away, without any head covering. 

An officer was then able to identify the suspect, who was residing in a hostel nearby on Code Street, E1. 

On Friday, 8 June, officers from the Flying Squad were deployed to the vicinity of Code Street. After a short time, Hensley left the building on foot. He was followed into Brick Lane, where he was intercepted and arrested.

A search of his bedsit recovered trousers and a glove worn in the offence, along with the yellow bag he had previously handed to the cashier. 

Hensley was charged with attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence.

He appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, 6 July where he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.

Detective Constable Carl Stallabrass, of the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “This is a great example of swift and dedicated detective work that has led to the arrest of a violent and prolific offender. He left the victim of this offence understandably traumatized and he has now been handed a significant jail sentence, preventing him from committing similar offences for the foreseeable future.”

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