A shop owner was badly wounded as he bravely defended his business against a gang of robbers armed with a gun and a machete.

Tasawar Iqbal was last night recovering at Bradford Royal Infirmary after undergoing emergency surgery on his injuries, which included a severed thumb, after five men stormed into Wibsey Convenience Store brandishing the weapons.

Despite the wounds he suffered in a violent struggle, Mr Iqbal, 39, managed to activate a panic alarm and even chased the fleeing gang out of the shop after the raid late on Wednesday night.

Yesterday, a friend of his said there was blood, money and stock all over the shop in Wibsey Park Avenue, Wibsey, adding that he was lucky to be alive.

“He could have died,” said the friend, who did not want to be named.

“They swung the machete at his head.

“He does self-defence and would not just give the money to them. He works hard for it.”

The friend added: “They chopped his thumb off with a machete. They split his head open at the back as well. He has lost a couple of pints of blood.”

He also said the robbers pointed the gun at a female member of staff.

Mr Iqbal, 39, who has owned the store for about two years, had arrived at the shop shortly before the raid occurred at 10.30pm to close up for the night and give a member of staff a lift home.

The friend said: “They came for money, they came with a gun and a machete – they are really bad.

“There was money lying about on the floor and blood all over the shop. He was throwing things at them to try to fight them off.

“He is a person making an honest living. As a shopkeeper you are on your own. He is working hard, putting so many hours in.

“I’m just hoping he gets better.”

Police confirmed Mr Iqbal managed to sound a panic alarm causing the gang to flee empty-handed.

The suspects were described as being Asian, in their mid to late teens, skinny and about six foot tall. They were wearing dark hooded tops with the hoods up and dark tracksuit bottoms. Two were believed to be wearing face coverings.

They were last seen running down Wibsey Park Avenue towards Farfield Avenue.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Nicholson, of Bradford District CID, said: “We would like to hear from anyone who saw a group of men acting suspiciously in Wibsey Park Avenue in the time leading up to, or just after this incident occurred.

“The shop assistant sustained a nasty injury to his thumb and we are keen to trace these men to prevent any similar incidents from occurring.

“Patrols have also been increased in the area to offer reassurance to residents.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact Bradford District CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”

The friend said Mr Iqbal was also attacked outside his own home about two months ago by a gang wielding a hammer.