Worker hides in cupboard while gang raid shop

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A SHOP worker was forced to hide in a cupboard while four men smashed up stock and stole bottles of booze.

Sinduyan Auruselvam, Thanushanth Kamaleswaran, Sanjeevan Mahendran and Nirash Niththianandan targeted 24-7 Express in Clarendon Road, Southsea.

Four raiders smash up 24/7 Express in Clarendon Rd in Southsea

Four raiders smash up 24/7 Express in Clarendon Rd in Southsea

The group waited until a milk delivery van left the shop before bursting in on assistant Malusamy Kumarasamy, who was working alone at 5.30am.

As Mr Kumarasamy hid he called his boss, Anita Patel, while the men smashed up the shop causing £1,600 worth of damage.

Miss Patel said: ‘When I arrived at the shop, everything in front of me was complete mayhem.

‘I just felt completely shocked. There was broken glass and red wine everywhere.

‘New ceiling lights were damaged and part of the ceiling was broken too.

‘What I didn’t understand was why we had been targeted. I’ve owned the shop for five years now and before this there had been no real trouble at all.’

At one point during the raid Niththianandan jumped over the counter to get to bottles behind the till but tripped, banged his head and left blood at the scene.

The group then ran off with all the alcohol they could carry.

They were arrested after Mr Kumarasamy, who quit following the attack, recognised Kamaleswaran, a student at the University of Portsmouth, as a former employee of the shop.

When the police went to his address all four were at the house, drunk.

Auruselvam, 22, of Oxford Road, Southsea, Kamaleswaran, 19, of Worcester Park, Greater London, Mahendran, 21 and Niththianandan 18, both of Manor Park, London, all pleaded guilty to theft at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Mahendran and Niththianandan were each jailed for nine months.

Auruselvam was given a nine-month sentence suspended for 18 months and told to do 150 hours of unpaid work.

Kamaleswaran was given the same suspended sentence but with 200 hours unpaid work.

Judge Sarah Munro QC said: ‘This involves a degree of targeting and it undoubtedly involves considerable intimidation and the use of and threat of force.

‘It certainly involves the most unpleasant theft of drink and damage to the shop.’

Kamaleswaran, Niththianandan and Mahendran have all left Portsmouth and moved to London since the raid last November.