Dramatic CCTV shows hero shop keeper using wine bottle to fight off knife-wiedling robber

Simon Garner
Yahoo! News

This is the moment a fearless shop worker disarmed a knife-wielding robber – by hitting him with a bottle of wine.

Dramatic CCTV images captured the shop assistant, who is only known as Raja, wrestling the balaclava-wearing thug to the floor.

The dramatic clip shows the thief burst into Dartmouth Food and Wine in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, at 9pm on September 22.

As the yob tries to run out of the shop, Raja bravely blocks the thief who frantically tries to stab him with a knife.

As the pair wrestle, Raja manages to rip off the yob's balaclava revealing his face. He is later identified as robber Christopher Hall, 29.

Hall, who escaped with just three packets of cigarettes, was traced after he cut his hand and his blood was found on the till providing a DNA match.

He pleaded guilty to robbery and was jailed for three years at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court this week.

Jailing Hall, Judge Granville Styler said: "This was an unpleasant robbery.

"You targeted a vulnerable shop worker, you used a weapon to threaten the victim and you used considerable violence when disguised with a balaclava."

The footage shows Hall trying to escape by hurling a stand of greetings cards at Raja who manages to grab a bottle of red wine from a shelf which he then uses to defend himself.

Incredibly, at one heart-stopping moment Hall lunges at Raja with the knife but the shop assistant blocks it with the bottle causing the blade to snap off.

Both men leave the store before Hall, from Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent, calmly walks back in and tries to force open the till with his broken knife.

Prosecuting, Heather Chamberlin, told the court: "The worker pulled at the robber's balaclava and was able to see the man was white.

"He grabbed a wine bottle and told the man to go."

Raja then hit Hall with the bottle before running into the street for help and raising the alarm.

Miss Chamberlin added: "He looked through the shop door and saw the man trying to open the till with the broken knife. He told him to stop and said somebody was coming.

"The man came out of the shop stuffing something in his pocket. He took three packets of cigarettes."

Brave Raja was left traumatised and no longer works at the shop.

But in a statement, he said: "I believed he was going to kill me. I will never forget this incident."

Student Majuran Kathirkanathan, 26, whose family own the shop, said: "There have been cases of people trying to run off with spirits before but nothing as violent as this.

"The worker was in the back filling up stock when the robber first came into the shop.

"He had a knife with him which he tried to stab the assistant with but luckily he missed.

"The worker managed to pull off the robber's mask so he was trying to hide his face from the cameras.

"He rang me to say he had been attacked and we told him to close the shop straight away. We were worried for him but he kept saying that he wasn't hurt.

"We are very happy that he has been jailed for three years."

The court heard Hall – who has written a letter of apology to his victim – had lost his job, home and relationship before the raid.

Kevin Mortlock, defending, said Hall had “no intention of harming” the shopkeeper.

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