A BRAVE shopkeeper has described how he fought off an axe-wielding thug who raided his shop – then chased him down the street.
The robbery, which happened at El Mexicano greengrocer shop in Muirhouse, left furious Mohammed Ali with cuts to his head and hands after he battled the violent thief, who escaped with a fiver.
The criminal lunged at Mr Ali shortly after he had opened his shop in Pennywell Court yesterday morning, screaming for money and cigarettes.
However, a defiant Mr Ali said he would not tolerate robbers and described how he had hit his attacker with a stick until he cowered behind the counter. The feisty shopkeeper managed to run the thug out of his shop – and even chased him until he disappeared.
Mr Ali, 53, said he had never experienced anything like it in his 25 years of running a greengrocers.
He said: “That man tried to kill me. I couldn’t believe it, he came at me with an axe and struck me on my head. He didn’t even think about how he would hurt me. There was blood everywhere.
“I put my hand up so he didn’t get me a second time, and then I got my big stick and I hit him. Eventually he crouched behind the counter, so I had to go around to the other side, then I hit him again.
“Then me and my friend chased him out of the shop and down the road, where he tried to fight us again.
“I am furious because that guy could have murdered me. He only got a fiver and five packets of cigarettes. If I get him again I won’t be letting go of him. It was a small axe, but an axe is an axe.
“I’m just trying to look after my family. I wouldn’t usually tell the police if there was an argument in the shop, but you can’t go round pulling out an axe.”
Mr Ali was taken by ambulance to the ERI for stitches to his head wound.
A police spokesman appealed for witnesses to the incident. He said: “Lothian and Borders Police are appealing for witnesses following an armed robbery at a newsagent in Pennywell Court around 11.30am on October 20.
“A man entered the store and produced a small axe before demanding the shop owner hand over money.
“During the incident the 53-year-old victim suffered minor cuts to his hand and head before the suspect made off with a small sum of cash.”
Detectives are carrying out enquiries to identify the man, who is described as white, aged between 30 and 32 years old, 5ft 5in to 5ft 8in tall with a slim build.
He had a gaunt face with light stubble and wearing dark raincoat with hood up and dark trousers.
The police spokesman added: “Anyone that can assist with our investigation is asked to contact police.”