A PAIR of robbers armed with a knife were thwarted by a plucky shopkeeper wielding a bottle of vinegar.
The thugs – who targeted the Pentland Newsmarket and Bakery in Penicuik – had had their chips when they came up against Malik Hussain, 56, who fought them off with dinner-time favourite Sarson’s.
The attempted robbery took place at the Pentland Terrace store at around about 5.15pm on Monday.
Father-of-six Malik, who has been working at the store for nine months, was moving stock on the top shelf when he felt a hand grip his shirt collar.
He said: “I didn’t hear or see them come in, and suddenly they were just at my back. One grabbed my collar and held a knife at my head. It had a 12-inch blade. He just shouted at me ‘give me your money, give me your money’ – I wasn’t scared.”
Managing to stay calm, Malik walked towards the till saying “I’ll give you my money” while the robber marched at his back.
As he got to the till, Mr Hussain reached down and picked up a full bottle of Sarsons vinegar from a lower shelf.
“I just shouted and they ran out of the door.
“It was all over in 20 seconds,” he revealed.
Mr Hussain chased after the pair as they ran away from the store.
He said: “I was shouting ‘robber boy’ but there was no one around.”
Lothian and Borders Police have issued descriptions of the pair and appealed for witnesses.
A spokesman said: “Two men, wearing scarves over their faces, entered the store and one of them presented a knife and demanded money.
“This was refused and both suspects then left the shop and ran uphill towards Glaskhill, Penicuik.”
One of the men is described as being white, 5ft 9ins tall, of stocky build.
He was wearing a black unbranded hooded top and jogging bottoms and had a green scarf covering his face.
The other man is possibly white, 5ft 7ins tall, with a slim/lean build.
He was wearing a black Adidas zip-up hooded top with white stripes on the arms and a white scarf covering his face.
The police spokesman confirmed the shopkeeper was the only person in the shop at the time of the incident.
He said: “Police are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen these men in the vicinity of the shop, either before or after the incident occurred.”
Anyone with information can contact the police on 0131-311 3131 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The incident is the latest in a string of robberies in which staff have decided to fight back.
A Fauldhouse shopkeeper thwarted a robber armed with a knife by fighting him off with a fold-up stool in June.
And in March, a grocer tackled a thief using tae kwon do.