Gunmen opened fire and smashed a glass bottle over a worker’s head in a terrifying raid on a Sheffield convenience store.
A menacing duo burst into the shop on Sandstone Road, Wincobank, as owner Balasingham Sujanthani was cashing up.
One robber aimed a gun at the 32-year-old shopkeeper from the doorway, while his accomplice ran behind the counter and grabbed notes from the till.
“I can remember looking up when I heard the door open and seeing a man with a gun pointing it straight at me,” Balasingham told The Star.
Balasingham, who lives above the shop, said he was initially terrified and ran into a store room with his 34-year-old friend who was helping out in the shop.
But as he hid behind a fridge for protection he saw one of the armed robbers raiding his till - and confronted him.
“I knew the gunman was still pointing the gun at me but I crawled on my hands and knees behind the counter and I grabbed hold of the man raiding the till,” he said.
“I grabbed him from behind and he tried to scramble across the counter, so I grabbed hold of his legs and he ended up losing his shoes and his coat in the struggle.
“I also managed to pull the mask off his face.
“My friend went to the front of the counter to try to stop him escaping, but he ended up getting hit over the head with a bottle.
“When the man tried to hit him a second time, my friend put his hand up to protect himself and ended up with a cut hand because the glass had smashed.”
The two robbers ran off - and Balasingham realised their gun had been fired only after they had fled.
“It must have been a gas powered gun,” he said. “My friend was hit on his arm with it and we found a gas cartridge left behind on the floor.”
Balasingham, who has run the shop for 18 months, said he now plans to upgrade security and hopes police will install a panic alarm.
“It has left me scared – but this is my shop so there’s nothing I can do about it, just improve security,” he said.
“There’s never been anything like this before.
“When I spoke to my wife, who lives in Sri Lanka, she was crying and crying.”
Customer Susan Jackson, 59, of Sandstone Drive, said: “It’s bad that it’s happened. A lot of gangs hang about and there’s always been trouble.
“You feel intimidated when you’re on your own, so I don’t go out after tea time. I don’t put myself in that position.
“I have a neighbour who feels the same and doesn’t go out at night.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “It is believed men entered the store and threatened staff with a handgun. It is reported three men were seen running away from the store.
“A 34-year-old man was taken to the Northern General Hospital with minor injuries to his head and arm.”
Anyone with any information about the robbery, at around 10pm on Monday, should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting incident 1,383 of July 29. Crimestoppers can also be contacted on 0800 555 111.