Shopkeeper saw fear in teenager armed with gun

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A BRAVE shopkeeper tackled a gun-wielding robber during the third raid on his store in just a year after spotting the masked thief’s hand shaking.

Khurram Mirza feared he was going to be shot when the gunman burst into his shop and demanded cash.

However, raider Gary Smith’s hand began shaking as he held the weapon, and the victim decided to turn the tables on him.

Mr Mirza pulled down the scarf that Smith was wearing over his face and immediately recognised him as someone who had been in his shop “on numerous occasions”, the High Court in Edinburgh heard yesterday.

Smith, who was 17 at the time, then fled empty-handed from the S&R Superstore in South Street in Armadale, West Lothian.

Firearms officers were later called out to a house which Smith frequented, but he was not there.

The teenager later called police and identified himself and said he had done “something bad” and wanted officers to come and arrest him.

Smith, 18, of Breslin Terrace, Eastfield, Lanarkshire, admitted assaulting Mr Mirza by presenting a gun or fake firearm at him, attempting to strike him with the weapon and attempting to rob him on April 7 last year.

Advocate depute Andrew Brown QC said Mr Mirza was serving a customer when Smith walked in with a scarf covering his face.

The teenager shouted “Give me the f****** money” as he approached the counter.

The prosecutor said: “Mr Mirza saw that the accused was holding a small black gun in his hand and initially thought that the accused might shoot him.

“However, he then saw that Smith’s hand was shaking and he appeared scared. Mr Mirza therefore decided he would take a chance and left the counter to confront him.”

The shopkeeper grabbed the raider’s hand and felt that the gun was plastic and realised that he was stronger than Smith.

He tried to force him to drop the gun and pulled down Smith’s scarf during a struggle.

The shopkeeper shouted to a panicked woman customer, who thought Mr Mirza was going to be shot, to phone the police.

Smith tried to hit the shopkeeper on the head with the weapon then fled from the store.

After Smith later called the police and admitted the attempted robbery, officers found him at a park in Shotts, Lanarkshire, where he appeared drunk and distressed. He told officers he had robbed a cornershop with a BB gun but left with nothing.

The court heard that, despite police inquiries, the weapon used in the robbery bid was not recovered.

The prosecutor said it was the third time since 2011 that the shop run by Mr Mirza and his wife had been robbed.

The judge, Lord Burns, told the first offender that he required a background report on him before sentencing and continued the case until next month.