A TERRIFIED shop manager bravely fought off a knifeman who tried to rob him – by brandishing a vacuum cleaner hose.
The would-be robber Ross Kenneth Dale turned on his heels and was chased out of the shop in Holywell.
A crown court judge praised victim Kamal Mahalingam, who he said had shown great fortitude when confronted by a knifeman at his shop, and that he should be proud of himself.
Mold Crown Court heard how he was working alone in the M&S Late Shop in the High Street when Dale walked in in a hooded jumper.
Mr Mahalingam told him there was a ‘No hoodie’ policy in the shop and Dale took it down, only to cover his face with a scarf.
Dale, 21, who had never been in any trouble before, then branded a kitchen knife in front of him and demanded cigarettes.
But Mr Mahalingam brandished the vacuum cleaner hose back at Dale, who lost his nerve and who was then chased out of the shop.
Dale, who at the time lived at the Llys Emlyn Williams Hostel at Old Chester Road, Holywell, was jailed for three years and four months after he admitted attempted robbery and possessing a blade on May 5.
Mr Mahalingam told how he had felt uneasy about the young man who was in his shop and had brought the vacuum cleaner closer to him.
“When I saw the knife my heart was racing,” he said.
“All I wanted to do was run out of the shop.
“I feared for my life.”
But he brought the vacuum hose up in front of Dale and brandished it.
He admitted he didn’t know if that would protect him – but the raider then ran away.
“That’s when I became angry, thinking ‘how can he do this to me?’,”he said.
“I chased him out of the shop.”
Mr Mahalingam explained in a victim impact statement read to the court how he was diabetic and it was not good for him to become stressed.
But he was determined to get over it.
“I will not let this man take over my everyday feelings. I want to carry on working where I am. I’m committed to the business, he had no right to do this.
“I feel very angry at what he has done,” he added.
Judge Niclas Parry told Dale he had tried to rob a small convenience store which provided the local community with an invaluable service, which he had regarded as an easy target.
“Such businesses will be protected by the courts,” he said.
It was pre-planned, he disguised himself with a hood and a scarf and he had armed himself with a knife.
“You pulled it out, you brandished it, you threatened him with it and he was left frightened.
“He believed that he might be killed.
“But he showed remarkable fortitude by challenging you and chasing you away.
“He was scared for his life but he can be extremely proud of himself.”
Richard Edwards, prosecuting, said Dale waited for a customer to leave and then produced the knife and told Mr Mahalingam to “fill the bag with ciggies”.
When he fled, Dale went to the home of a friend where he changed his clothes and asked for a lift to Chester.
But he was asked to get out of the car when he became nervous at seeing police cars.
He admitted he had done something stupid and that they were looking for him.
When he was arrested, text messages were found on his phone which indicated that he planned to carry out the robbery.
After it was over, he sent a text to a friend saying he had done it and that he would see him in two-and-a-half years.
Damien Sabino, defending, said that at the time his client was homeless and was estranged from his family. There had since been a reconciliation.
He had mental health problems and at the time had been living “day to day”
It was his case that he went into the shop to steal cigarettes but decided on the robbery on the spur of the moment. While the knife had been brandished, he made no threats .