A SHOPKEEPER fended off armed robbers brandishing a gun by striking them with a wooden pole he kept behind his counter.
Ragwinder Singh, aged 55, who runs Victoria Mini Mart, Victoria Street, Kilnhurst, Rotherham, was working in his shop when two men burst into the store.
They demanded cash and cigarettes.
The brave businessman, who has run his shop for five years, said one of the men pointed the gun at him while the other forced his way behind the counter and produced a white sack and demanded cigarettes.
But Mr Singh, despite feeling ‘terrified’, grabbed a wooden pole which had been supporting his microwave behind the counter and struck out at the robber nearest him.
The gunman then opened fire and the duo fled with the lottery till.
VIDEO: Press the play button to see CCTV video of the armed raid.
Mr Singh said: “They came in shouting ‘give me the money, give me the cigarettes, everything, quickly, quickly’.
“The man with gun stood on one side of the counter while the other one got behind it and went to the lottery till. He then produced a big white sack and was saying ‘give me the cigarettes’.
“I was terrified, who wouldn’t be when there is a gun pointed at you, but I was thinking about my livelihood - I have a wife and children to support. If they had taken all my cigarettes stock you are talking thousands of pounds and with the delays there are with insurance payouts, I wouldn’t have been able to replace that.
“I also wanted them to know I am not an easy target - if they had got away with it this time they could have come back again.
“When he started demanding the cigarettes, I just grabbed a wooden pole that supports the microwave and struck out at him - aiming at his shoulder or head. I don’t know what it hit but they seemed to panic.”
He said he is unsure whether the gun was real.
“The gun looked and sounded real when he fired it, but there were no bullet marks,” he said.
“My friend was in the shop with me - he had called to use my laptop to check his emails - and he was crouching behind the counter because he was so terrified.
“I have never had anything like this before - the community round here sticks together and looks out for each other so it was a shock.”
He said the robbers escaped in a blue Vauxhall Astra estate.
“There was one in the car and one outside, so there was a gang of four involved in this,” added the shopkeeper.
South Yorkshire Police said the getaway car, registered as M35 VYG, was stolen.
A force spokesman said: “It is believed that at least two masked men wearing dark clothing, entered the mini mart armed with a weapon, threatened the shop owner and stole the lottery till with a quantity of cash before escaping in a stolen blue Vauxhall Astra estate car.”
Anyone with information about the raid, at 7.30pm on Saturday, should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, quoting incident number 1,160 of September 22.