A VETERAN shopkeeper bravely fought off an armed robber who burst into his shop and demanded money while pointing a gun at him.
Julian Karim, who has owned and run Central Stores in St Paul’s, Cheltenham for 30 years was behind the till of his well-stocked grocery store on Saturday night.
Dramatic CCTV footage taken by the store shows that at 9.40pm a hooded and masked man walked into the shop and handed Mr Karim a crumpled carrier bag.
Mr Karim said: “He said ‘Give me the money’. I thought he was having a joke or something.
“I said ‘What are you on about?’ and he demanded the money again.”
Mr Karim said the would-be robber demanded the money, swearing at him and using a racial slur.
The hooded man then pointed a black hand-gun with a rectangular barrel at Mr Karim.
The shopkeeper said that at that point he lost his temper.
He said: “I told him to get out and threw the bag at his face and I turned around to get something to defend myself with, and when I turned round he had gone.”
The CCTV shows that the offender turned and ran as soon as the 69-year-old shop owner had defied him.
He was last seen running out of the shop and going round the corner from the shop on St Paul’s Road into Victoria Street.
Mr Karim followed him out but was not able to see where he went.
He said: “I was scared when he pulled out the gun, but I thought I’m not giving him any money.
I’ve been here for 30 years and we’ve never had anything like this before. We don’t get any trouble, I’m quite well-known around here.
“I told my customers about it and some where really upset one was crying. But I want to thank my customers. They’ve been really good and very supportive. A lot of them have given me their mobile phone numbers so I can call them if I have any trouble.
“I’ve been here a long time and it’s a really good area.”
As Mr Karim spoke to the Echo, passers-by stopped to offer their support. One said: “Well done mate, for standing up for yourself.”
Mr Karim said: “A lady works at the hairdressers and she said if someone pointed a gun at her she’d give them the money. But it’s not her money and I thought this is my money, I’m not giving it away.”
Police have appealed for any information on the identity of the armed robber.
He is described as a white man, about 5 ft 9ins tall and around 25 years old.
He was wearing a dark hooded top and balaclava, dark tracksuit bottoms and training shoes with white or light-coloured laces.
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting incident 133 of April 20.