Brave shopkeeper tracks raider straight to house

Muhammad Nafees may receive a bravery award
Muhammad Nafees may receive a bravery award
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A ROBBER who threatened to shoot a shopkeeper during an armed raid was arrested after he led his victim straight to a nearby house.

The suspect managed to wriggle free after Muhammad Nafees wrestled him to the ground as he tried to flee the store in Tranent, East Lothian.

But as he fled, Mr Nafees followed him along the street to a house and was able to direct police officers there to make an arrest.

Minutes before, the suspect had burst into the Premier Store in Muirpark Drive and pointed an object from inside his pocket, telling shop staff it was a gun.

The robber shouted that he would shoot part-time shop assistant Anila Ali, 33, if she did not hand over cash.

She refused as the robber made repeated grabs for the till until giving up and running empty-handed for the door, where he was seized by 29-year-old store manager Mr Nafees.

Police said both Mr Nafees and Ms Ali were likely to be nominated for bravery awards.

Mr Nafees, who has run the shop for three years, said: “This man came in with a hooded top on and started demanding money from Anila. She had just served a customer and the till was open, so he tried to put in his hand to grab money.

“I came round from the back of the shop. The man was still saying he had a gun and would shoot us. He was pointing it out from his pocket, so we couldn’t see it. But we wouldn’t give him anything.

“I pressed the panic button so the police would come. He gave up and ran to the door and I grabbed him.

“I just wanted to hold him long enough for the police to arrive. We were both on the floor and struggling. He was throwing punches and I was trying to hold on to him.

“Anila told me to pull his hood off so we could get his face on CCTV. She said she wanted to see the face of the man who was trying to rob us.

“I pulled his top off so we got his face on camera and he chased me to the back of the store. Then, he started to kick over some of the displays, wrecking the place before running out.

“I followed him along the streets, keeping low so he couldn’t see me. I saw him go into a house so I was able to tell police where he was.”

Mr Nafees said the incident was the first robbery he had suffered since taking charge of the business.

He added: “I was worried when I grabbed him because he said he had a gun. But I didn’t want him to get away. I wanted to be a good citizen.”

A police spokesman said: “A 35-year-old man has been arrested and charged in connection with an alleged attempted robbery at an East Lothian convenience store.”

The man was scheduled to appear at Haddington Sheriff Court yesterday following the incident, which happened around 6.40pm on Friday.

“The shop staff will now be considered for a meritorious award for their efforts to ensure the attempted robbery was unsuccessful and for the assistance they provided to police upon arrival.”