A have-a-go hero shopkeeper who chased after three teenage thieves today told how he was pushed into the road just inches from an oncoming lorry, saying: “I’m lucky to be alive”.
Mohammad Shafique, 38, cheated death while bravely confronting a gang of youths who had stolen a single packet of crisps from his shop, on the corner of Church Street and Durham Road, in Blackpool town centre.
He attempted to tackle one of the shoplifters after they ran out of his store after chasing them across the street. But one of them punched him, breaking his nose, before pushing him into the road where he fell just inches from the path of the oncoming truck.
Speaking outside Raikes Mini Market, where the attack happened, shaken Mr Shafique told the Gazette: “I am lucky to be alive.
“There was two inches difference between me and the truck.
“What can I say, I feel angry.”
Mr Shafique has owned the shop for four years, having moved to the resort from his native Pakistan 12 years ago.
The incident happened at around 12.15pm on Tuesday.
Mr Shafique chased the gang, believed to be made up of two girls and one boy in their late teens, out of the shop across Durham Road before one of the girls tossed the stolen crisps back to him.
However, Mr Shafique told them to return to the shop while he called the police.
The resulting scuffle left him needing hospital treatment for a grazed elbow as well as a broken nose.
He has called on the offending party to change their ways before they cause somebody more serious damage, adding: “Try to be honest in your life, and pay for your stuff.”
Mr Shafique lives on Park Road, central Blackpool, with his wife Katherine, 51, and sister Faiza, 24.
Faiza moved from Pakistan to be near her brother two years ago after the death of their father.
She said: “He’s a hard working person, and he’s a polite and very nice person.
“He would never hurt anyone or hit anyone.
“I feel bad and it hurts because I don’t have anyone else here.
“If something worse had happened on Tuesday then who’s going to look after me, because I only have him here?
“My family are all upset about it and we just want justice.”
Jim Britton, who owns Big Butts sandwich bar across the road from Mr Shafique’s shop, said: “He’s a nice man and he’d do anything for anyone, and he’s a hard working man who works day and night.
“Going out there and trying to sort it out has nearly cost him his life.
“People shouldn’t be able to come into his shop and get away with it.”
But Mr Shafique says his experience means he will now think twice before tackling shoplifters from now on.
He added: “Never again, there’s nothing worth more than life.”
Lancashire Police has confirmed it recieved a report of the incident and is making further enquiries over alleged assault.
Anyone with information should call 101.