A ROBBER lured a shopkeeper to a store in the dead of night by making a bogus police call to claim his alarm was going off.
The cunning criminal then waited for Taz Ahmed to open his store before pouncing.
The terrified 20-year-old was then threatened with a meat cleaver and forced to hand over £5,000 in cash and 8,000 cigarettes.
The raid happened at a store in Livingston, West Lothian, in the early hours of Monday.
Mr Ahmed said: “My mother got a call at around 1.30am from a man claiming to be from Lothian and Borders Police.
“The bloke said my shop’s alarm had gone off and said I’d have to go down there, but it was all quiet when I got there.
“When I opened up the shop door the alarm started going off as usual.
“I felt this was quite strange, but then I heard the bell go off and I walked through to see this guy holding an eight-inch knife, which was like a meat cleaver but only three quarters the size. Later, I spotted that he was also holding a crowbar.”
Mr Ahmed said the raider screamed at him to hand over cash and money and demanded he open the safe.
“He was waving the knife around in my face, so I took him to the cash office,” said Mr Ahmed.
“The safe is in a filing cabinet, and he seemed to get angry, so he got the crowbar out and ripped off a panel of the filing cabinet then he ripped off the lock on the safe.”
Mr Ahmed said it was the first time in 11 years that the shop had been targeted.
He said: “If anybody ever calls to say the alarm is going off again, I’ll call the police first. I was half asleep at the time. I’ve had hundreds of people come in to support us and ask if we’re OK.”
Police said they were appealing for information following the robbery, which happened in the early hours of Monday morning.
A police spokesman said the suspect was about 5ft 10in and wearing a dark-coloured top with a black hat over his face and black gloves.
He said: “Although he was not injured, this has been a terrible experience for the man involved.”