‘He told me to hand over cash or he’d kill me’

US Food Plus convenience store owner Mukesh Kumar, of Wargrave Road, Newton-le-Willows.
US Food Plus convenience store owner Mukesh Kumar, of Wargrave Road, Newton-le-Willows.
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A convenience store boss has told of his terror after a sword-wielding robber burst into his shop on Hallowe’en.

Mukesh Kumar, manager of the popular US Food Plus shop, initially thought the masked thug was playing a Hallowe’en prank late last Thursday evening (October 31).

But the robber, who had two accomplices and was wearing a cloth mask which covered his entire face, then demanded cash before swinging the sword at Mr Kumar - slashing his coat.

Miraculously, the victim, 26, escaped unhurt and the robbers were forced to run off empty-handed.

Mr Kumar said: “At first I thought it was just children joking about because it was Hallowe’en. But then he told me to hand over cash or he would kill me.

“When I refused, he counted to five before coming at me with the sword. I was terrified but put my arm up to protect myself and the sword cut through my coat.”

Mr Kumar, who has been running the Wargrave Road shop in Newton-le-Willows for the last three months, added: “Nothing like this has ever happened to me before and I’m sure it will be a one-off.

“I know most of the people around here and all my customers are just as shocked as I am. Thankfully, it’s business as normal again now.”

Police say three men targeted the shop at about 10.20pm.

One of them stayed outside, another held the door open and the third demanded cash from the terrified shop assistant while brandishing a black sword.

When Mr Kumar bravely refused to hand any money over the crooks ran off empty-handed.

DC Roy Waller, of St Helens CID, said: “This was a horrifying incident which left a shop worker who was just going about his daily business badly shaken up. The sword cut his coat just inches from his face and he’s very lucky not to have been seriously hurt, or even killed.

“The offender was clearly willing to use a weapon and showed a complete disregard for the consequences of his actions. It’s now vital that all the men are brought to justice.”

The sword-wielding offender and the man who was holding the door open are both described as white and about 5ft 8ins tall.

Both had slim builds, had their faces covered and spoke with local accents.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area, or who has any information, can call St Helens CID on 0151 777 6038 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.