Holywell shop owner chased robber with vacuum cleaner


David Humphreys

A BRAVE shop owner chased off a knife-wielding robber armed only with a pipe from his vacuum cleaner.

Kamal Mahalingam said he was terrified when he was threatened by a man brandishing a blade in his store and demanding cigarettes.

But while many shopkeepers would have cowered, Mr Mahalingam managed to chase the thief out with an attachment from his old Henry vacuum cleaner, which happened to be behind the shop counter during the terrifying episode.

Mr Mahalingam, who has run the M&S Late Shop in Holywell High Street for seven years, had placed the distinctive red and black Henry vacuum cleaner behind the counter ready to tidy the store when it was due to close shortly after.

When approached by the knifeman, he bent down, pulled the pipe from the cleaner and pointed it at him, gesturing for him to leave the store.

“It was scary,” he said.

“I just wanted him to get out of the store.”

Mr Mahalingam said the attempted robbery had “shaken” him.

“It was frightening. I’m diabetic and on medication,” he said.

“I was scared when he pulled the knife out. I was worried he’d jump over the counter and attack me.

“I have a nine-week-old baby daughter.”

The callous raider struck at about 9.10pm on Monday night. He wore a hooded top and had his face covered.

“It was terrifying,” added Mr Mahalingam.

“I was very shaken.”

The 34-year-old, who lives above the shop, told the Leader that at 9.10pm on Monday evening, he was  serving a customer when a man walked in asking about a box of wine.

The shop owner told the man that he didn’t sell the product but pointed in the direction of other drinks.

The would-be robber milled around until the shop was empty.

When the other customer left, Mr Mahalingam said he brandished the knife at the till and demanded a bag be filled with cigarettes.

Mr Mahalingham then grabbed the hose and carpet head from his vacuum cleaner from behind the counter and chased the man out of the store.

The exchange lasted all of three minutes. Nothing was taken and nobody was hurt.

“Five minutes before it all happened, I’d gone upstairs to grab some food and my wife was alone in the store. He could have hurt my family,” Mr Mahalingam added.

The incident on Monday night is not the first time the popular convenience store has been targeted.

In 2012, thieves ran in to the store with scissors asking for cash from the till.

l In relation to Monday’s attempted theft, a North Wales Police spokesman said: “A 21-year-old man from the Holywell area is currently being questioned at Wrexham Police Station in relation to an attempted robbery at a convenience store in Holywell High Street.”

The spokesman confirmed  a knife had been used in the attempted robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting reference number R066845.

See full story in the Leader

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