He was definitely holding a real gun

TARGET Jisto Varghese, left, and owner Shaiju Kolattukudy whose Kwiki Mart store was robbed.     Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (110938-1)
TARGET Jisto Varghese, left, and owner Shaiju Kolattukudy whose Kwiki Mart store was robbed. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (110938-1)

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VICTIMS of a terrifying gunpoint robbery in an off-licence have spoken of their ordeal.

Covering his face with a scarf, a man walked into the Kwiki Mart, on New Road, Buckland, and pointed a revolver at 25-year-old Jisto Varghese.

The shop assistant said he feared for his life as the man made threats until he handed over cash from the shop’s till.

Mr Varghese added that he had been left shaken and worried about going back to work.

‘It was horrible,’ he said. ‘At the moment I am afraid of just going back to do my job, but hopefully I will be OK in a few days.

‘He was definitely holding a real gun, it was very close to my face and I could see it clearly.

‘I really hope the police catch whoever it was.’

Owner Shaiju Kolattukudy, 35, could only stand and watch as the man escaped with between £700 and £800.

He said: ‘It was really scary.

‘The gun looked real and he held it very close to Jisto’s head.

‘It happened so suddenly and he had no choice but to give the robber money, and I’m glad he did.

‘The whole thing was all over in about two minutes, but we were both left completely shocked.

‘The last time this happened was three years ago before I was the owner.

‘We never expected to be threatened in this way.’

The robbery took place at around 8pm on Tuesday and 24 police officers were called out.

The man responsible is black, about 5ft 10in, and 28 to 30 years old.

He was of a medium build, with short afro hair, and wore a black jacket with a blue and light-coloured scarf covering his face.

Det Con Allison Fraser from Portsmouth CID praised the way Mr Varghese handled the incident.

She said: ‘He had no way of knowing whether or not the gun was an imitation and when faced with that situation it’s just not worth taking the risk.

‘Officers were on the scene within a matter of minutes to carry out a search of the area.

‘Dozens of police in total were at the scene to carry out investigations and house-to-house enquiries.

‘If you recognise the description of the suspect, or know who did this, please get in touch.

‘I’d also like to hear from anyone who may have discovered a jacket, other clothing or gun discarded, perhaps in a garden or undergrowth or anywhere around New Road.’

Anyone with information can contact Det Con Fraser at Fratton police station on 101, or call the anonymous Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.