Courageous shopkeeper robbed at knife-point by teenager

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By Christine Lavelle

A BRAVE shopkeeper has told how he confronted a knife-wielding teenager who demanded cash from his till.

The yob – armed with a massive chef’s knife – tried to slash and stab Sajid Rashid, 45, at his store before fleeing with £180.

Mr Rashid said he challenged the youth after he came into his shop, Sprott newsagents in Gibraltar Gardens, Dalkeith, Midlothian.

But after dodging several swipes of the weapon, Mr Rashid was forced to step back while the thief helped himself to the contents of the till and made off.

Mr Rashid – who returned to work straight away – said: “I thought he was joking at first but then I saw the knife under his arm and I realised he was quite serious.

“He was shaking a lot and I was worried that the nerves might get the best of him and he could end up doing something stupid – he was only about 17 or 18.”

Mr Rashid, a father-of-four, had been sitting behind the till when the boy flew into the shop at around 4.40pm on Tuesday, ordering him to hand over the cash.

He said: “When I looked at his face I saw he was not a local boy, as I know almost all of the residents around here.

“I instinctively challenged him but he aimed the knife at my stomach, then grabbed it in both hands and tried to stab into my thigh.

“I thought my life was worth more than a few pounds so I told him just to take whatever he wanted.

The attacker made off with £180, but did not take anything else from the shop.

Mr Rashid’s wife Fiza, 40, said her husband had been shocked at how cheaply the thief valued human life.

She said: “My husband knows 99 per cent of the residents who live around here and everyone gets on with him.

“We have never had any problems in eight years being here and customers have been coming in nearly in tears asking if we are all right.”

Police are hunting the robber, who was seen running towards Alan Terrace.

The suspect is described as white, mid to late teens, 5ft 6in tall, and wearing a blue navy hooded top with the hood up, and black jogging trousers.

A police spokesman said: “Although he wasn’t injured, the victim was left shaken as a result of his ordeal, and we are keen to speak to anyone who can help us identify the suspect.

“Anyone who was in the area of Gibraltar Gardens at around the time of the incident, who noticed anyone acting suspiciously there, should contact police.

“Similarly, anyone who recognises the description of the suspect, or who has any other information that can assist our inquiries, should also get in touch.

Anyone with information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131.

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