Video: Heroic newsagents fight off armed masked men

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Calderdale newsagents heroically fought off masked armed robbers in two terrifying raids.

A Halifax convenience store was targeted by a man brandishing a machete then hours later a 70-year-old Elland newsagent fought off an attacker armed with a knife.

One of the shop workers picked up a bar and then chased the attacker out of the store while in the other incident the newsagent grappled with the raider, who fled empty-handed. Police, who say the offences are not linked, are now hunting for the criminals.

The first attack occurred last Sunday, at around 7.40pm, when a masked man entered Ovenden Convenience Store in Ovenden Road brandishing a machete and demanded takings from the till.

But no nonsense shop worker Mohammed Rafiq, 25, who was behind the counter as the robber burst in, reached for a metal bar and then gave chase to the masked man who fled towards Boothtown.

Nothing was taken - and the shop worker was unharmed.

Shop owner Gurprit Johal, 24, said: “Mohammed’s actions were brave and heroic - he’s a valuable member of our workforce. We won’t tolerate it, no one is coming in and taking anything without consent.

“If anyone has information that could secure a conviction it could lead to a big reward.”

The same suspect is now being linked with an attempted robbery at a nearby Ovenden church, on Wednesday at around 6.50pm.

A man of a similar description entered a church hall and grabbed a woman’s handbag and tried to make off but a man fought with the robber to stop him from stealing the handbag. He made off empty-handed along Ovenden Road towards Illingworth.

Then early on Monday morning a masked knifeman got more than he bargained for as he attempted to rob DM and JL Sykes newsagents in Elizabeth Street, Elland.

Owner David Sykes, 70, said: “I was unwrapping the morning’s papers - it was around 5.15am when a crazed man came in screaming and brandishing a six inch knife.

“I tackled him and we both ended up on the floor. Stock was everywhere, the shop was a right mess.

“There was no time to register - I just thought, ‘I’m having this guy’.”

In the struggle, the pensioner managed to press the panic alarm and the robber, who eventually broke free of Mr Sykes’ grip, fled the scene empty handed.

In the attack, Mr Sykes sustained a cut to the head.

Speaking shortly after the attack Mr Sykes, who has ran the newsagents with his wife for 36 years, said: “I’m shaken up. I’ll be alright during the day it’ll be opening up in the mornings when I’ll be scared - thinking what will I find. I’m trying to earn an honest day’s living.”

A police spokesman said that time of the morning, the attack was ‘an act of desperation’.

The Elland suspect is described as a 19-year-old 5ft 7” tall white man of slim build. He was wearing a grey hoodie and grey jeans.

The man involved in the Ovenden attempted robbery is described as in his late 20’s and of medium to chunky build wearing a blue Adidas tracksuit top and blue jeans.

Anyone with information should contact Calderdale CID on 01422 337029 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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