Masked robber grabs woman’s face in armed raid

The robber left a glove at the scene of the incident at Dalry Newsagent in Dalry Road which has now been passed on to police. Picture: Neil Hanna
The robber left a glove at the scene of the incident at Dalry Newsagent in Dalry Road which has now been passed on to police. Picture: Neil Hanna
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A shop assistant has told how a masked man held her at knifepoint – and squeezed her face with his hand – before yelling: “If you scream, I will stab you.”

Munni Umme Salma, 39, had been working alone in the small Dalry Newsagent when a robber armed with a kitchen knife burst in and demanded money from the till.

The hooded man brandished a blade and took off a glove to grab the shop worker’s face before making off with several hundred pounds from the cash register.

The robber left the glove at the scene and police are now performing forensic tests on the item.

CCTV at a nearby pub shows the thief covering up his face with a scarf and hood immediately before the raid.

He can also be seen loitering outside before targeting the shop when the street was quiet.

Shop owner Shafiqul Hassan, 42, said Ms Umme Salma was left badly shaken by Thursday’s ordeal, which took place at around 7.40pm.

“He came in and Munni screamed,” he said. “He grabbed her face and told her ‘if you scream, I will stab you’. She opened the till.

“He took all the notes and asked her to give the change as well.”

A woman waiting at the bus stop across Dalry Road was alerted by the commotion and ran over, prompting the robber to flee towards Gorgie Road.

Mr Hassan said: “He left a glove. He took it off before he grabbed her face. The police have the glove.

“In the CCTV you can see he had a hat and put his hood over it. He took a scarf and gloves out of his bag, and put them on so you could only see his eyes.”

He estimated that a three-figure sum of money was taken from the till, and he suspects the culprit must have local knowledge, having raided the shop just before closing time at 8pm.

“I have run this place for nine years – this is the first time this has happened,” Mr Hassan said.

Cath Gourlay, who owns nearby Benson’s Bar, said she hoped her CCTV footage would help detectives trace the robber.

“You see him covering his face and later you see him running,” she said. “It’s difficult to see his face in it because it’s so dark.

“The shop between the pub and the newsagent was also broken into recently, but they didn’t get anything.”

Ms Gourlay, who used to work in the same newsagent, said Thursday’s incident brought back memories of being robbed in the shop in 2003, when she was seven months’ pregnant.

“It was at 1pm,” she recalled. “These people don’t care. They don’t care what time of day it is, or who gets hurt.”

Detective Constable Joyce Gunderson said: “Fortunately the shop assistant was not injured during the robbery, but this was a distressing ordeal and she was left understandably shaken.

“We are keen to hear from anyone who remembers seeing any suspicious activity in the Dalry Road area on Thursday evening, or anyone who recognises the description of the suspect.”

The suspect is described as white, in his early 20s, around 5ft 7in tall with a slim build. He was wearing a grey hooded top with white stripes running down the sleeves, a black scarf covering his face, woolly gloves and black trousers.