Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Shopkeeper tells of knife robbery in Edinburgh

A shopkeeper has told how he tackled a knife-wielding robber with a stick after a blade was held at his throat in his Edinburgh shop.

Mohammed Aslam, 54, told how he hit the thief with the stick despite being threatened with a 1ft-long knife at MA Newsagents in Brunswick Street.

The High Court in Inverness heard how the incident happened on 19 July 2011.

Salvatore Sivero, 29, is on trial accused of assaulting Mr Aslam and leaving him permanently impaired.

Mr Sivero, a prisoner in Edinburgh, is accused of two assault and robberies within three hours.

He faces a charge of assaulting Mr Aslam at his shop, presenting a knife at him, demanding money, holding a knife against his throat, striking him on the head and struggling with him, to his severe injury and permanent impairment, and robbing him of £200.

He is also accused of assaulting an employee at Shell Service Station on Glasgow Road in Edinburgh just before 04:00 the same day, presenting a knife at him and robbing a packet of cigarettes and £50.

Mr Aslam, who has had the shop for 20 years, told how a customer initially bought a banana milkshake and two bananas before producing the knife.

He said: "He got out the knife and said 'Give me money. Hurry up'.

"I was frightened. He came around the counter and put his hand over my mouth and held the knife to my throat."

The shop owner said the raider grabbed cash from the till before there was a scuffle and he dropped the knife.

He added: "He could not get the knife and he tried to run away. He banged into a gas heater and chairs and there was a shutter stick in the shop so I got the stick and hit him with it twice.

"I hit him on the back, but he managed to run away."

Mr Aslam, speaking Punjabi through an interpreter, said he called 999 and later identified Sivero as the robber who struck at about 06:50.

The businessman said he broke his thumb in the struggle, which moved a bone in his hand. He told the court this had left him permanently disfigured.

He added: "It is still painful when you touch it."

The trial before Lord Stewart continues.

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