A brave shopkeeper fought off a gang of robbers armed with sledgehammers – by spraying them with a fire extinguisher.
Quick-thinking Wail Al-Khamis put his life on the line to protect his shop, during the robbery at Miena Jewellery in Leith on Saturday morning.
CCTV footage of the incident seen by the Evening News shows three suspects storming the shop with sledgehammers and axes before attacking the 55-year-old, repeatedly aiming to strike a blow to his head. The robbers breached the gated security entrance with one strike to the glass in the shocking attack which happened around 11am.
Mr Al-Khamis said: “They came at me and tried to hit my head twice. He was shouting ‘I’ll kill you’. I was lucky, I managed to push away. My wrist is badly bruised. I grabbed a chair and everything I could from behind the counter and threw it at them.
“I grabbed a fire extinguisher and blinded them. They ran out of the shop.”
Four men made off with a large quantity of jewellery, believed to be worth a five-figure sum. They were seen in a black Volkswagen Golf that had been reported stolen during a housebreaking overnight.
They came at me and tried to hit my head twice. He was shouting ‘I’ll kill you’WAIL AL-KHAMIS
The three suspects, and a fourth man who was driving, made off from the area in the vehicle, which was then found abandoned in Giles Street at around midday.
Inquiries so far have confirmed the Golf, which has registration number SM66 BJZ, was stolen from a home in Swanston View between 10pm on Friday and 8am on Saturday.
Mr Al Khamis added: “I feel terrible, very unsafe. This happened on a busy road in broad daylight. I think I was in shock after.
“The shop next door called before I did and was told when they dialled 999 that they would need to wait. They couldn’t take the call because they were so busy. This was an armed robbery.
“When the government allows budget cuts to the police there’s not enough resources. They are giving the green light to criminals.”
An investigation led by Gayfield CID is under way.
The suspects are described only as wearing dark clothing, with black jackets made from a shiny material worn with the hoods up. They also had garments covering their faces and were wearing black gloves.
Detective Inspector Mark Lumsden, from Gayfield CID, said: “This was a brazen and extremely shocking robbery that caused great alarm and distress to the employee within, as well as resulting in him sustaining injury.
“We believe the same individuals responsible for the housebreaking and theft of the car in Swanston View were also responsible for the armed robbery.”