A SHOP assistant was slashed with an axe as he tackled a pair of armed robbers wearing balaclavas who tried to force him to open the store’s safe.
The 44-year-old suffered a deep wound to his wrist in the horror attack by two men clad in black clothing at the Broomhouse Mini Market.
The brave shop worker had refused to open the safe despite being threatened with the wooden-handled axe and was struck during a scuffle.
The robbers fled empty-handed at around 7am yesterday and detectives are appealing to anyone who saw the men running from the shop to come forward. Detective Sergeant Graham Grant, who is leading the inquiry, said: “There were two members of staff in the shop, a woman who was stacking shelves and a man at the rear of the store. The male shop assistant was confronted by two men wearing balaclavas with one of them carrying a hatchet-like axe.
“The men demanded he open the safe but the shopkeeper refused and a scuffle broke out. During the course of that, he was struck in the wrist with the axe.
“The suspects fled onto Broomhouse Place North. Police arrived shortly afterwards and an ambulance took the shopkeeper to St John’s Hospital in Livingston.
“His injuries are not life-threatening but he suffered a serious wound.”
Officers recovered CCTV footage from the shop and are examining other security cameras in the surrounding area.
DS Grant added: “The shopkeeper was left shocked by this very frightening experience. His injuries are being assessed by doctors.
“Robberies do happen intermittently in Edinburgh but an incident where a weapon like this has been presented and used is a rare occurrence.
“That’s why we’re doubly dedicated to tracking down those responsible and bringing them to justice.
“We’d appeal to anyone who saw these men running away to contact police. We don’t know whether a car or motorcycle was used as a getaway vehicle but it’s possible.
“Someone may have seen these suspects get into a vehicle in the area.”
The first suspect is described as 6ft tall, slim build, wearing dark trainers and black trousers, a black zip-up jacket with a hood, and white gloves. The second suspect, who was carrying the axe, was shorter, and wore a black hooded top, black trousers and black trainers.
Keith Bell, secretary of Sighthill, Broomhouse and Parkhead community council, said: “I’m shocked by this incident, especially since the community policing team is working hard to reduce crime in the area and have had some success.
“It’s a relief that the shopkeeper did not suffer even more serious injuries, and we wish him a speedy recovery.”