A shop owner today spoke of the moment he and his nephew challenged two would-be robbers with an axe – causing them to flee the store empty-handed.
Iyathurai Seevaratham was in the back office of Londis, in Tipton High Street, when he heard ‘a loud bang’ from the front of the store.
The 47-year-old turned to look at a screen showing images from a CCTV camera and saw two men wearing balaclavas raiding the store.
One of them was 44-year-old Alan Brookes who was smashing the till with a hammer. His accomplice was loading cigarettes from behind the counter into a bag.
It took only a matter of seconds for Mr Seevaratham to decide to act.
He and his 30-year-old nephew Thayaparan Karunakaran emerged from the back office to confront the raiders. Mr Seevaratham had picked up an axe which he used to threaten the would-be robbers and between them he and his nephew forced them out of the store.
Brookes was jailed for four years and eight months by Wolverhampton Crown Court earlier this week after admitting a charge of attempted robbery.
Brookes terrified a female member of staff behind the till forcing her to flee into an aisle. Soon after the pair were confronted by the store owner.
During the struggle on November 2 Mr Seevaratham was able to remove Brookes’ balaclava – which was later used by police to retrieve DNA evidence.
The shop owner, who has 15-years experience in the trade, said: “The main thing when confronting people who are trying to steal something is to get them out of the shop.
“You do not want to hurt them. You just do what you can to drive them out of the store as quickly as possible before someone is hurt or the shop itself is damaged.”
Mr Seevaratham said he and his nephew had chased the two men from the store.
“They got into a car and I smashed a couple of the windows,” he said. “I am pleased Brookes has now been sentenced.”
He added: “I would like to thank the police for all they have done. They have kept us informed about what was happening every step of the way.”