THREE masked men armed with a knife and hammer attacked a shop worker before stealing cash and cigarettes.
The 41-year-old victim today described the moment – which was caught on CCTV – that the trio burst in and held the weapons at his head before fleeing with £2000 of cigarettes and £1000 in cash.
It is the second time this year that Fernieside Newsagents in Moredun has been targeted by robbers.
The victim, who was struck on the ear as the men fled the shop, said he was so traumatised by the attack that he couldn’t sleep.
He said: “One had a knife, it was quite big, another one had a hammer, I didn’t notice what the other one had.
“One had the knife behind my neck, the other one was just holding the hammer right in front of my eyes.”
“One had the knife behind my neck, the other one was holding the hammer in front of my eyes”SHOP WORKER
He said he wasn’t sure if he was hit on the right ear with the back of the knife or a fist.
“They took the money from the till, and they asked if there was more money,” he said. “I said that was all there was. They took money and cigarettes, and then they left.
“It all happened within two or three minutes. They were all covered with a mask and hoods. I couldn’t sleep. It was very bad.”
The man, who was treated at the scene for his injury, said he had suffered ill-health recently and the incident threatened to set him back.
However, he said he “would not be worried” if the robbers struck again, adding: “I’ll be more prepared.”
Monday’s incident follows an attempted robbery at the Fernieside Crescent convenience store in March, which saw shop owner Muhammad Afzal Hanif – a former bodyguard to Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif – scare would-be robbers away with a metal pole.
Mr Hanif, who spent eight years in the Pakistani security police before moving to Scotland to marry, said he was saddened by the latest incident.
The 47-year-old – who previously fought off a knife-wielding robber at his old store in Stockbridge in 2008 – said: “This time it was very scary because they went behind the counter and the guy had a knife. It’s very serious.
“We calculated the cigarettes were worth more than £2000, and there was £600 in notes and £400 in coins. The insurance company doesn’t cover the coins.
“He couldn’t defend himself because two people were in front of the counter, and one was behind.”
Mr Hanif said the incident followed a spate of anti-social behaviour outside the shop.
The trio are all described as white and in their late teens or early 20s and wearing dark clothing.
One had a stocky build and was wearing a dark tartan scarf over his face. The second had his face covered by a dark garment, while the third was wearing white trainers.
Detective Constable Jonny Wright said: “We are pursuing various lines of inquiry.”