Trader’s knife raid horror

Gazette Newsagents, Lytham Road, where two masked robbers threatened a shop worker with a knife before making off with around �165 and cigarettes.

Gazette Newsagents, Lytham Road, where two masked robbers threatened a shop worker with a knife before making off with around �165 and cigarettes.

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A man who moved to England to escape civil war in his homeland has spoken of his horror at coming face to face with a knife wielding robber in his shop.

The Sri Lankan shopworker said he feared for his life when two masked men entered the Gazette Newsagents on Lytham Road, South Shore, one of them brandishing a six inch blade.

One of the men, wearing a devil mask, threatened the 31-year-old with the knife before attempting to follow him into a back room where the shop worker managed to barricade himself in and call police.

The incident happened at around 11.15pm on Thursday, October 31, but police only released details on Tuesday.

The shop owner, Francis Geevardtnam, said an almost identical attack happened at the shop last year, when masked robbers targeted the business wielding a knife before stealing cash.

Now the worker, who is too scared to give his name, has told of the horror incident on Halloween this year.

He said: “I was behind the counter and two people crossed in front of the shop in these horrible Halloween masks and black tops, but they looked different to trick or treaters.

“Then I went into the kitchen and I heard a big bang.

“I came out of the kitchen and a man was standing about a foot and a half away from me, he had a knife in his hand and he made a big sound and tried to charge me.

“I escaped to the kitchen but he tried to push the door open to me. I thought I was going to die. It was very scary.”

The thieves threw the shop till from its desk, stealing around £165 in cash before ransacking the cigarette counter, making off with nine packets.

He added: “It lasted maybe two minutes, it was shocking.”

The man has told how he moved to the UK from Sri Lanka seven years ago to flee the civil war, and that he saw the move as his escape to peace – but never anticipated fearing for his life in England.

He added: “Coming here saved my life, so when something like this happens I’m scared about here too.

“I will work in the shop again but I will always remember that dangerous incident.”

Mr Geevardtnam said: “The same thing happened last year. It’s become part and parcel of the business.

“It’s an awful thing to happen. I’m just glad nothing happened to him.”

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