A BRAZEN thief strolled into a city centre store in broad daylight before helping himself to nearly £1,000 in cash from the till.
The sneaky operator distracted shopkeeper Rebecca Brockie before striking at the Day to Day Express on Castle Street on Sunday morning.
Police are now investigating while Ms Brockie, 22, has been left scared to work in her own shop.
“He came in and distracted my wife, saying that his mum had left her bag in the shop,” said store owner Fahad Raza, 26.
“My wife went into the back to check and he started taking money from the till. My wife came back to stop him and he pushed her.”
Ms Brockie was unhurt but shaken up by her ordeal after the thief sprinted off down Rose Street.
The couple now hope footage captured on the shop’s CCTV system will help snare the thief.
“My wife’s Ok but she’s very frightened,” said Mr Raza. “It’s all on CCTV and you can see he pushed her.
“I just can’t believe it happened in the middle of the day. We just don’t feel safe now.
“We’ve been here for four years and we haven’t been robbed before.
“We phoned police and we want this guy caught before he does this again.”
The Scottish Grocers Federation is currently lobbying for a bill to be passed at Holyrood to ensure greater protection for shopkeepers.
Plans for a law to protect shopkeepers in Scotland from violence and abuse was launched by Daniel Johnson MSP, the Scottish Labour Party frontbench spokesperson on justice.
The Proposed Protection of Workers Bill intends to boost protection given by criminal law for shop workers and those applying or enforcing an age-restriction in relation to the sale or supply of goods or services.
Draft legislation includes the creation of new offences to deter harassment, abuse and violence against shopkeepers, triggered by asking customers for proof of age or denying sale of age-restricted products.
Chief executive of the SGF, Pete Cheema, said: “We’re seeing more and more of such crime which is one of the reasons why we’re trying to push the bill through parliament.”
The federation recently held a roundtable with security experts to thrash out safety measures.
“Shop crime is not taken seriously enough by the police of the Crown,” said Mr Cheema. “It’s a continuing upward trend and it needs to be addressed.”
A police spokeswoman confirmed officers were called to the Day to Day Express at 11.45am on Sunday. “We had a report and are investigating,” she added.
Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.