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Shopkeepers foil two armed raids
A plucky shopkeeper sent an armed robber packing by swinging a broom handle at his head.
The would-be raider, who was brandishing a gun, fled “like Usain Bolt” after quick-thinking Dinesh Shah lunged at him with the length of wood.
It was one of three armed robberies at Bradford shops, thought to be linked, in the space of three hours on Tuesday evening.
In one of the other incidents, the last of the three, a gun-toting suspect ran out of a store when the owner defied his demands and pulled out a knife.
First, business premises in Carrbottom Road, Bankfoot, were targeted, at 7pm. A masked man entered carrying a gun, pointed it at the owner and demanded cash, but left empty-handed when the proprietor said there was no money.
An hour and a half later, a raider struck at the nearby Top Wines off licence in Manchester Road.
Mr Shah, 64, and his wife Madhusudha, who were looking after the shop for a friend, were behind the counter when a man walked in.
Mr Shah said: “His face was covered with a balaclava. He produced a gun in his left hand and had a carrier bag in his right hand. He pointed the gun at me and said ‘give me the money.’ “I said ‘okay, I’ll give it to you,’ and reached down below the counter. He thought I was getting the money, but I picked up the broom handle, came back up and swung it at his head. He ducked away from it, went out of the shop and ran off like a bullet – running faster than Bolt!
“It was a split second decision to pick up the broom handle. I was worried about the safety of my wife. I thought if I managed to hit his hand he would drop the gun.
“I had to do something. I did it for my family. I was looking after somebody else’s premises, that was more important to me.”
The third robbery occurred at around 10pm at the Madni Kids Store corner shop, in Bowling Old Lane, West Bowling.
Owner Qaiser Mehmood, 42, was sitting reading a book, on a chair behind the counter, when he saw on CCTV cameras, a man wandering around outside.
Mr Mehmood said: “He came in and stood near the door. He was wearing a balaclava and gloves and had a gun which looked like a replica. He pointed it at me and said ‘open the till.’ “I picked up a knife to scare him and shouted ‘come here,’ and he just ran off.
“It was scary when he appeared in the door, wearing a balaclava and with a gun. I felt relieved when he went.”
It is believed the weapon used was an imitation.
Nobody was injured during the alleged offences.
Any witnesses, or anyone with information, is asked to contact Bradford South CID on the non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.
A 19-year-old man is due to appear before Bradford magistrates this morning after being charged in connection with three robberies at shops in Bankfoot, Manchester Road and West Bowling in the space of three hours on Tuesday night.