Horsham robbery: 'brave and heroic' police officers praised for catching balaclava man

A balaclava-clad robber's attack on a police officer as he tried to steal her car has been condemned as 'abhorrent and unforgivable'.

Shocking CCTV footage released by police shows Owen Smith trying to steal a police car to get away after robbing a Horsham Tesco.

CCTV captures the moment Owen Smith - wearing a balaclava - attacked the police officer in the drivers' seat. Pictures and video: Sussex Police

CCTV captures the moment Owen Smith - wearing a balaclava - attacked the police officer in the drivers' seat. Pictures and video: Sussex Police

Smith, 29, appeared at Hove Crown Court on Tuesday and was jailed 10 years, with an additional four year licence period to be served after that.

There has been widespread shock at the incident, including from the Sussex Police Federation.

READ MORE: Judge says Horsham Tesco robber poses ‘significant risk’ to the public

Simon Steele, secretary of the federation, said: "No assault on a police officer is acceptable and this was a particularly horrific attack on officers who responded to a crime in action.

Owen Smith was jailed at Hove Crown Court this week

Owen Smith was jailed at Hove Crown Court this week

"The officers were attacked without any justification and the cowardly actions of Smith are abhorrent and unforgivable.

"It is only because of the brave and heroic response of the police officers present that Smith was detained and prevented from causing further harm.

"I hope that he reflects on his actions over the next 14 years while he sits in his prison cell.”

The two female police officers who were in the car when Owen Smith tried to steal it have said their ordeal was 'truly terrifying'.