East Lancs shopkeepers strike back against thugs

Dramatic scenes at Wensley Mini-Market in Blackburn

Cricket bat wielding Nasir Ahmed

Abee Azis who was threatened with a machete

Bashir Patel, who tackled a knifeman in Oswaldtwistle

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Local government reporter

EAST Lancashire shopkeepers are fighting back against robbers to defend their goods and takings in hard economic times.

Newsagents and convenience store owners are increasingly ready to put their own safety at risk when confronted by armed raiders.

Corner shopkeepers from Blackburn through Burnley across to Barrowford have been ignoring police warnings of possible injury to become ‘Have a Go Heroes’ on their own premises.

The latest incident came at the weekend when 68-year-old Ravat Mussa defied a raider with a knife at his shop in Accrington Road, Blackburn.

Police this week have also released CCTV footage of a shopkeeper in Ramsbottom being threatened with a gun. The worker bravely threw tins at him but could not stop him escaping with cash.

A week earlier mentally-ill Anthony Doran was detained indefinitely over a terrifying confrontation with Burnley shopkeeper Bhag Singh.

Preston Crown Court heard how last May the owners of Singh Stores in Padiham Road fended off his knife-wielding attacker with a stool.

Earlier this month. the female owner of Maguires Off Licence in Gisburn Road, Barrowford was also the victim of a knifepoint robbery attempt.

When she refused to hand over the contents of the till, the masked raider fled.

They are just a the latest in a string of such corner shop fightbacks in the past three years.

Blackburn MP and former Home Secretary Jack Straw, who intervened four times to stop criminals between 1980 and 1996, said: “As someone who has had a go himself a few times, I do detect a growing willingness among shopkeepers to stand up against robbers.

“It has to be an individual decision as there can be serious consequences. Certainly if criminals detect a growing willingness among shopkeepers to stand up and fight, they will be deterred.”

Chamber of Trade bosses in Blackburn and Burnley also said there was a growing willingness among small retailers to defend their goods and cash from armed thieves.

This increased readiness to ‘have a go ‘comes as a British Retail Consortium survey shows a nine-year high in shop thefts, a trebling of violence, threats and abuse against store staff and a four-fold increase in assaults on shopworkers.

Tony Duckworth, President of Blackburn and District Chamber of Trade said: “We have discussed this and our advice would always be to be careful.

“But I do detect a growing willingness among small shopkeepers to stand up and fight for their businesses.

“These are tough economic times, and they don’t want to give up their takings easily and some are jaded when the police have been called but no prosecution results.”

Other recent incidents where shopkeepers and their staff fought back include: l Phone shop boss Mohammed Jabar throwing a stepladder at two masked men armed with kitchen knives who burst into Sana Communications on Colne Road, Burnley on New Year’s Day 2014; l A female shop assistant defying a knifeman at Dave’s Newsagents in Brierfield in December 2013; l Mohammed Handra fighting off a robber who hit him over the head with a bottle at his Wensley Mini-Market in Blackburn in October 2013; l A part-time counter assistant chasing a machete-wielding robber at Lynwood Express in Darwen in April 2011; l Nasir Ahmed using a cricket bat to defend his Londis Store in Clayton-le-Moors against two thugs with an axe and samurai sword in May 2011; l Bashir Patel tackling a knifeman at his Roe Greave Road shop in Oswaldtwistle, in March 2011.

A Lancashire police spokesman said: “Whilst we do not want to deter those who are public-spirited, we must not encourage people to place themselves in danger.”

Comments (6)

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10:40am Wed 29 Jan 14

burner says...

Let's get every shopkeeper armed with a gun, eh ? Then the undertaking community will be busy as more and more robbers get armed . . . u.s.w.
.
On a more serious note . . . . . one only needs to realistically keep change for a twenty in the till. People are often too lazy to remove notes frequently and store them in a separate, secure location where no-one can get at them.
Let's get every shopkeeper armed with a gun, eh ? Then the undertaking community will be busy as more and more robbers get armed . . . u.s.w. . On a more serious note . . . . . one only needs to realistically keep change for a twenty in the till. People are often too lazy to remove notes frequently and store them in a separate, secure location where no-one can get at them. burner
  • Score: -2

2:15pm Wed 29 Jan 14

vicn1956 says...

To the person who wrote a nice reply to my post yesterday on a related story. Wake up!
I could bore you rigid with 100's of stories of people who have had a go at people attacking their businesses or property and been brought before the beak.
Here's just one from last week.
Neighbours rang a businessman about 2 people breaking into his business. He turned up and chased them off his premises. One of the thieves stopped to attack him but the businessman grabbed the wood he was threatened with and defended himself injuring the thief. He was charged with assault and spent months waiting for the court case- "going through hell " he described it. Thankfully the jury threw out the charge. He could have ended up with a criminal record and spent time in side.
All I was saying was the shopkeeper should be careful.
He should be able to defend himself and property but too often the law defends the criminal and persecutes the wrong ones-as in the above example. I am not a do-gooder as he described me-just someone urging caution. How would it look in court if the picture of him holding the bar was shown? The do-gooders on the jury might think he was waiting for a chance to do one of these poor thugs harm. It would be twisted against him.
Just saying!
To the person who wrote a nice reply to my post yesterday on a related story. Wake up! I could bore you rigid with 100's of stories of people who have had a go at people attacking their businesses or property and been brought before the beak. Here's just one from last week. Neighbours rang a businessman about 2 people breaking into his business. He turned up and chased them off his premises. One of the thieves stopped to attack him but the businessman grabbed the wood he was threatened with and defended himself injuring the thief. He was charged with assault and spent months waiting for the court case- "going through hell " he described it. Thankfully the jury threw out the charge. He could have ended up with a criminal record and spent time in side. All I was saying was the shopkeeper should be careful. He should be able to defend himself and property but too often the law defends the criminal and persecutes the wrong ones-as in the above example. I am not a do-gooder as he described me-just someone urging caution. How would it look in court if the picture of him holding the bar was shown? The do-gooders on the jury might think he was waiting for a chance to do one of these poor thugs harm. It would be twisted against him. Just saying! vicn1956
  • Score: 0

6:19pm Wed 29 Jan 14

sen c b l says...

Just bear in mind. Use excessive force and cause harm you'll end up in serious 5h1t.
Just bear in mind. Use excessive force and cause harm you'll end up in serious 5h1t. sen c b l
  • Score: 5

8:59pm Wed 29 Jan 14

woolywords says...

I am rather disturbed with what this article is implying here. Anyone who decides that their best form of defence is to go on the attack, with any of the above mentioned articles, is wandering into a grey area of the law.
Far better that you use a more passive form of defending yourself by doing a little thinking beforehand. Rather than any of the weapons mentioned by the many in the article, why not equip yourself with a small, car-type, dry powder fire extinguisher instead?
It would allow you to keep yourself out of range of any weapon that the robber may have and at the same time, subdue any attack that they can make.
If you think about it, you have every excuse for having a fire extinguisher behind the counter, whereas you have none whatsoever for metal bars, baseball or cricket bats.
I am rather disturbed with what this article is implying here. Anyone who decides that their best form of defence is to go on the attack, with any of the above mentioned articles, is wandering into a grey area of the law. Far better that you use a more passive form of defending yourself by doing a little thinking beforehand. Rather than any of the weapons mentioned by the many in the article, why not equip yourself with a small, car-type, dry powder fire extinguisher instead? It would allow you to keep yourself out of range of any weapon that the robber may have and at the same time, subdue any attack that they can make. If you think about it, you have every excuse for having a fire extinguisher behind the counter, whereas you have none whatsoever for metal bars, baseball or cricket bats. woolywords
  • Score: 3

6:38am Thu 30 Jan 14

Excluded again says...

In 2010 the then Director of Public Prosecutions said that defending yourself against an intruder with, say, a cricket bat would not result in a prosecution.

I suggest that all the shopkeepers invest in a cricket bat.
In 2010 the then Director of Public Prosecutions said that defending yourself against an intruder with, say, a cricket bat would not result in a prosecution. I suggest that all the shopkeepers invest in a cricket bat. Excluded again
  • Score: 0

12:30pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Steven Seagull says...

sen c b l wrote:
Just bear in mind. Use excessive force and cause harm you'll end up in serious 5h1t.
So were listening to what I said after all.

I'll educate you yet Sen.
[quote][p][bold]sen c b l[/bold] wrote: Just bear in mind. Use excessive force and cause harm you'll end up in serious 5h1t.[/p][/quote]So were listening to what I said after all. I'll educate you yet Sen. Steven Seagull
  • Score: 1

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