Detectives investigating a robbery in Bradford in which a man had part of his thumb chopped off have released CCTV images of the gang they suspect were involved.
Shop owner Tasawar Iqbal, 39, was badly wounded in an altercation with four men armed with a gun and a machete at his convenience store in Wibsey Park Avenue, Wibsey, shortly after 10.45pm on Wednesday.
He was taken to hospital for emergency surgery. Last night he was described as being in a stable condition.
The suspects, thought to be a group of Asian men in their late teens, were last seen running off towards Farfield Avenue.
Yesterday, Paul Baxter, who heads the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, said: “We are horrified to hear of this latest attack on a shop owner going about his daily business.
“Opening early in the morning until late at night when few staff are on duty makes independent retailers an easy target.
“The NFRN is doing all it can nationally and locally to counter crime and violence against retailers. We have written to the Prime Minister urging him to include legislation in the Queen’s Speech which would provide greater protection for shop workers.
“We have also called on all Police and Crime Commissioners to make sure tackling retail crimes is high on every police force agenda and we are currently working with MPs to set up an all-party parliamentary group.”
The Association of Convenience Stores also condemned the attack on Mr Iqbal.
Its chief executive James Lowman said: “This is terrible attack and sadly not uncommon to local retailers.
“Our figures show that 51 per cent of retailers report experiencing some form of violence or verbal abuse in the last year. We hope someone comes forward with information to help bring those responsible to justice.”
The suspects in the Wibsey raid are described as being 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.
Patrols have also been increased in the area to offer reassurance to residents.
Detective Chief Inspector Tony Nicholson, who is leading the investigation, said: “This was a nasty incident, and it has left the victim with an injury which potentially threatens his livelihood. This was an innocent man who was trying to stop his premises from being robbed.
“No-one should have to suffer such injuries protecting their property, and that is why I am calling on the local community to come forward with any information they might have.
“Somebody will know who is responsible for this and I would urge them to contact police on 101, or if they would prefer, to give information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”