TWO shopkeepers have told how they feared for their lives after an armed robber burst into their stores and demanded goods.
Urai Reed, who owns Alan’s Corner in Black Road, Hebburn, and Samar Iqbal, of nearby Auckland Discount Store in Auckland Road, were robbed on Wednesday.
Both said that a man came into the shop and demanded cigarettes and booze before pulling out a knife and threatening them.
Urai, 41, who owns the shop with her husband, Alan, said: “He was slashing the knife at me and I thought he was going to cut my throat.
“I thought I was going to die.”
As police were continuing to quiz a man in his early 20s over the two raids, shop owners told of the terrifying moment he came into their stores.
Urai, of Biddick Hall, South Shields, said that she was alone in the shop when a man came in at about 12.45pm.
She said: “I had been serving customers as normal, they left and I was in the shop alone for about a minute before he came in.
“He had his hood up and sunglasses on but he lowered them when he came up to the counter. He asked me for 20 Lambert and Butler and I put them on the counter.
“Then he asked me for a £14.99 bottle of vodka and I put that on the counter.
“He grabbed them both with his right hand then I don’t know where the knife came from but he pulled it out and started slashing it at me. I thought he was going to jump over the counter and kill me.
“I jumped backwards, but I had nowhere to go. I was terrified. I looked over and there was a woman who had come in, he slashed the knife at her too then walked out.
“I feel scared being in the shop by myself now and I wouldn’t even like to be home on my own either.
“I can’t believe someone would do all that just for cigarettes and vodka.”
Alan, added: “I was in Newcastle at the time and when Urai rang and said what had happened, I rushed back. By the time I got here, the police had the shop cordoned off.
“I’m worried about leaving her in the shop alone but I can’t be here constantly – I need to go to the cash and carry and do other things.
“We shouldn’t have to feel like that in our shop.
“The police said that if it wasn’t for the woman who came in, he might have kept going and asked for money out of the till.”
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “Because of the close proximity of the premises, we are looking at a possible connection between the two incidents, but we cannot make a definite link at this stage.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191.
SHOPOWNER Samar Iqbal described how a robber tried to slash him with a knife during a terrifying raid.
The raider struck at Auckland Discount Store – less than half a mile away from Alan’s Corner store – just before 6pm on Wednesday.
Mr Iqbal, from Hebburn, said a man walked into the shop with his hood up and an empty vodka bottle in his hand.
The 30-year-old said: “I was standing behind the counter and I had a couple of customers, and the guy just stood and waited until they had left.
“There was still a boy in the shop – he was about 14 – but the man pulled out a knife and demanded 20 Lambert and Butler, a litre of vodka and eight cans.
“He tried to slash the knife at me. The boy ran outside and called the police. I pressed the panic button, so the alarm started going off.
“The man came behind the counter and was slashing the knife at me. I even had to grab it to stop him from stabbing me and I cut my finger – it was really scary, there was nowhere for me to go.
“He grabbed 40 cigarettes and I told him to just take them and go.
“He ran off, but when he got to the door, he threw the empty bottle at me. It missed, but it hit the TV we use to display the CCTV and the screen smashed.”
“He had been in an hour earlier when my wife, Fuzia, was in on her own, but there was a lot of customers and he left.
“I was scared when he was slashing the knife at me because I thought he was going to stab me.”