Shopkeeper left in shock after robbery by known customer

MM Stores in Pilton where the theft occurred
MM Stores in Pilton where the theft occurred
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A shopkeeper has told of his shock after he was hit over the head with a piece of wood by a regular customer, who then made off with hundreds of pounds.

Jamil Khan, 33, said his assailant was a known customer who had visited the MM Stores newsagent in Boswall Parkway, Pilton, many times previously to ask for change.

But on Sunday, just before 6.55pm, the same man launched a vicious attack before stealing £1300 in cash and international calling cards worth £200.

Police investigating the theft are searching for a male suspect aged between 25 and 30, about six feet tall and thin, with a pale complexion.

Mr Khan, who is from Islamabad, Pakistan, and has been a resident of Edinburgh for seven years, was treated by an ambulance crew for a minor head injury at the scene of the crime.

He said: “This guy who hit me was a regular customer – I just did not expect that this could happen.

“I know this guy and used to do favours for him. I would give him change when he came before to ask for it – I feel so bad that he did this to me.”

Mr Khan, an employee at the shop for just over a year, said the man first entered at around 6.20pm to ask for change. He then left but returned around 25 minutes later to buy sweets.

“At that time the shop was empty,” said Mr Khan. “The guy put a bag of sweets on the counter and gave me 50 pence for it. I then opened the till again. As he paid for the sweets I could see that he was checking the CCTV in the shop.”

Mr Khan said it was only after the attack that he realised the man had been making sure the CCTV camera was off and there was no-one else in the shop. He also remembered that the man had been looking in the till before he pulled a piece of wood out from under his jacket and used it to assault him.

“At the time I did not see what it was he hit me with,” Mr Khan said. “He hit me on the side of my head, above my left ear, and I fell back and saw darkness for a few seconds.

“When I came round I could see he had the till on the floor. The till was still switched on so he was able to open it and take the money and calling cards.”

Mr Khan said that the assault weapon was discovered discarded on the shop floor by police who were on the scene of the crime at around 7pm.

“The weapon was light- coloured, about two-and-a-half feet long and about an inch thick. It looked like he had torn it from a door,” he added.

Mr Khan said he was aware of similar incidents in the local area but had not expected anything to happen to him.

The husband and father-of-one, who lives in Gorgie and worked for other newsagents before being employed at the Pilton shop, said of the attack: “There was no bleeding but it’s been hurting where he hit me.

“Last night it was throbbing. The people who treated me said I should go to the hospital and get it checked out. My family are very worried – including my family back in Pakistan. I have had many cards from my brothers and cousins there.”

Anyone who was in the area and remembers seeing anything suspicious is asked to contact police immediately.