Knife-wielding robber tackled by shopkeeper

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A have-a-go-hero shopkeeper told how he bravely tackled a knife-wielding robber out of his shop with a stick after having a blade held against his throat.

Newsagent owner Mohammed Aslam, 54, told how he hit the raider with a “shutter” stick despite being threatened with the knife.

Unfortunately the thug fled with around £200.

Salvatore Sivero, 29, is on trial accused of assaulting Mr Mohammed and leaving him permanently impaired during the attack at MA Newsagents in the Capital’s Brunswick Street.

Mr Aslam, who has had the shop for 20 years, told a jury at the High Court in Inverness how a customer initially bought a banana milkshake and two bananas before presenting the foot-long knife.

He said: “He got out the knife and said ‘Give me money. Hurry up’.

“I was frightened. He came around the counter and put his hand over my mouth and held the knife to my throat.”

The Indian shop owner said the raider grabbed cash from the till before there was a scuffle and he dropped the knife.

He added: “He could not get the knife and he tried to run away. He banged into a gas heater and chairs and there was a shutter stick in the shop so I got the stick and hit him with it twice.

“I hit him on the back, but he managed to run away.”

Mr Aslam, speaking Punjabi through an interpreter, said he called 999 and later positively identified Sivero as the robber who struck at about 6.50am on July 19 last year.

Yesterday, he pointed at Sivero in the dock and told the jury: “That is him.”

The businessman said he broke his thumb in the struggle, which moved a bone in his hand. He told the court this had left him permanently disfigured.

He added: “It is still painful when you touch it.”

Sivero, described as a prisoner in Edinburgh, is on trial accused of two assault and robberies in the space of three hours on July 19 last year.

He faces a charge of assaulting Mr Aslam at his shop, presenting a knife at him, demanding money, holding a knife against his throat, striking him on the head and struggling with him, to his severe injury and permanent impairment, and robbing him of £200.

He is also accused of assaulting an employee at Shell Service Station on Glasgow Road in Edinburgh just before 4am the same day, presenting a knife at him and robbing a packet of cigarettes and £50.

The trial before Lord Stewart continues.