A BUSINESSMAN was robbed at knifepoint by a gang brandishing a taser.

Salim Ridha and his staff were ordered to lie on the floor as the men grabbed thousands of pounds in takings.

The gang escaped but the A to Z Catering workers leapt into action giving chase and brandishing kebab skewers.

Mr Ridha described the raiders as ‘barbarians’.

He was locking up when two men burst into the company’s store in Shadsworth Road, Blackburn, waving a large knife and demanding money.

Police said they believed the raid, in which Mr Ridha, 59, manager Mahmoud Hawa, 53 and employee Azad Khader-Poor, 31, were threatened with a taser was a ‘planned attack.’ But Bangladeshi national Mr Ridha, who has run the catering service and spare parts business for 12 years, fought back and struggled with one of the robbers.

They grabbed a bag containing thousands of pounds in takings and fled, chased by staff who had quickly armed themselves with commercial kebab skewers.

Married father-of-four Mr Ridha said: “It was a terrifying ordeal.

But it could have been so much worse if I hadn’t fought back. They would have taken everything.I just thought ‘I’m the boss, these are my people, I have to protect them’.

“It was a big humiliation to be put on the floor. I was outraged and had to defend myself. I’m just thankful I had the power to fight.

“As we struggled and I pushed him back outside I was punched in the head. They got into a car and I tried to lock the gates and move my Vauxhall Astra into their path to stop them escaping.

“Then my employees came out with the large skewers, but it was too late.”

Mr Ridha was left bleeding after the robbery on Monday night.

The two men drove off in a new black Ford Fiesta with a black briefcase containing the day’s takings.

Police believe there were two further men in the car which collided with the gates before turning right up Shadsworth Road and then right on to Rothesay Road.

Mr Ridha said: “I love this country because of the respect for law and order.

"But these people are barbarians. They don’t appreciate what they’ve got and just want easy money.”

Police are appealing for witnesses.

DS Mark Cruise said: “This was a pre-meditated and planned offence where the offenders had little regard for the welfare of people in the shop.

“It has left the victims traumatised and I urge anyone with information about who was responsible to come forward.

“We are particularly interested in speaking to anyone who has information about the black Fiesta which may have damage to the front end.”

The offenders were described as white men aged between 25 and 29 years old and were all wearing dark clothes.

Call Lancashire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.