Shop assistants tackle gunman

Cllr Rob New

Top councillor says former MP’s appointment in senior police role was a ‘terrible case of cronyism’

This is the terrifying moment that a masked robber pointed a pistol at a Portsmouth wine shop cashier.

But the criminal got more than he bargained for at Grande Wines, in Somers Road, Somers Town, as the cashier refused to hand over takings from the till.

Another shop assistant, who had been smoking a cigarette outside, walked back into the shop and ran to help his colleague restrain the robber.

The pair then grappled with the criminal, removing his hat and scarf so they could see his face.

As the fight continued, shelves of food went flying as the robber was pinned against a chiller cabinet as the workers disarmed him.

The stunned robber eventually ran off, without the gun and without any cash.

The manager of the shop, Igors Vitkovskis, who arrived just after the robber had fled, commended the bravery of his staff members, Sabbi, 21, who was threatened with the gun, and Bira, 30.

The pair live in Southampton and have been left frightened after the robbery.

Mr Vitkovskis, 26, who lives in Portsmouth and is originally from Latvia, said: 'They stopped him and he got away with nothing.

'They took away his scarf and hat so he could be seen on the CCTV camera.

'It was like something from a movie.

'I think they were brave. They did a good job.

'In that situation, when someone points a gun at you, no-one really knows how they will react.'

The two shop assistants have not returned to work since the incident.

Mr Vitkovskis said: 'They were so shocked.

'We have had small thefts before, someone stealing chocolate or a bottle of vodka, but never this.'

Detectives investigating the attempted robbery have found the pistol was a blank firing gun. They are now appealing for information.

Detective Constable Pete Bambury, from Portsmouth CID, said: 'This type of robbery is very rare.

'The weapon we recovered was a blank firing handgun but, even so, staff in the shop would not have known that.'