Hero employee tackles armed robber

CCTV footage shows the robber pulling a gun on Mohammed Abdullah. Picture: Jane Barlow
CCTV footage shows the robber pulling a gun on Mohammed Abdullah. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A SHOPKEEPER has been left stunned after a brave employee was hurt as he fought off an armed robber during an early morning raid on a newsagent.

Mohammed Abdullah – who has only worked in the shop for a couple of months – launched the defence after being confronted by his assailant, who whipped out what appeared to be a handgun in Dalhousie Newsagents in Bonnyrigg shortly before 8am yesterday.

CCTV footage from the store shows the attacker demanding cash from the till – while holding the gun at point-blank range.

But married dad-of-one Mr Abdullah, 41, who was alone in the shop at the time, refused to hand anything over and then lunged for the man’s weapon.

The counter-attack resulted in a brief but desperate struggle in which the shop worker was head-butted and hit with the gun before his assailant gave up and fled empty-handed.

Police and ambulance crews – who were alerted after Mr Abdullah pressed a panic button – arrived to find the area around the shop counter spattered in blood, with food and other goods strewn all over the floor.

Mr Abdullah was later taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he was treated for shock and head wounds.

Kashif Ali, who owns the newsagent in Dalhousie Place, said he and his staff members no longer felt safe at work.

Mr Ali, 35, was on the scene within half an hour after being alerted by the panic alarm.

He said: “I am shocked – as a shopkeeper, I do not feel safe now. I arrived at around 8.20am. The police had covered everything – they gave me gloves and put something on my shoes and then they let me come into the shop. The blood was all around.

“Mohammed is a good worker, he’s very reliable.”

Mr Ali, who owns two other newsagents and lives in Portobello Road, said it was not the first time one of his businesses had been targeted.

He urged anyone with information to come forward and said he expected the attacker to be punished speedily once caught.

He said: “When I saw the CCTV, I thought, ‘thank God, the man did not fire on him’.

“This time of year is the worst time for these incidents – there are less jobs, people have less money.

“The process [after arrest] seems to be quite slow. The best thing is if this kind of person is punished straight away and then named and shamed in the paper so that everybody knows about him.

“That’s what will help stop this kind of crime.”

The suspect has been described as a white man who was wearing a faded black top and blue jeans at the time of the attack.

Police said inquiries were ongoing and have appealed for those with information to come forward.

Inspector Stuart Reid said: “This must have been a terrifying experience for the shopkeeper. However, he refused to hand over any money and successfully fended the suspect off.

“Thankfully he did not sustain any serious injury and police are now conducting various inquiries within the area to identify the male responsible.

“During this time, high-visibility police patrols are being carried out to engage with local residents and offer reassurance to the community.”

He added: “Anyone who remembers seeing any suspicious activity around the shop on Monday morning or who has information relevant to this investigation is asked to contact police immediately.”

Mr Ali said he now planned to update his shop’s security systems as quickly as possible.

“This is the one shop where I don’t have live a CCTV system that sends footage to my mobile phone or laptop – I will get that in here,” he said.

“I really want to say to people, keep an eye on the people coming into the shops, especially at Christmas time.”

Anyone with information can contact Police Scotland on 101.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com