Shopkeeper’s horror as gun fired in Preston shop raid

Imran Patel, 34, of Rainbow World mobile phone shop on St George's Rd, Preston, which was robbed at gunpoint.

Imran Patel, 34, of Rainbow World mobile phone shop on St George's Rd, Preston, which was robbed at gunpoint.

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A shopkeeper has told how robbers fired a handgun at him - after hitting him with a hammer - as he tried to defend his livelihood.

Two robbers burst into the Rainbow World phone shop, on St George’s Road, Deepdale, Preston, at about 6.35pm on Monday and subjected worker Imran Patel to a terrifying ordeal.

They struck the 34-year-old with a hammer after smashing a mobile phone display unit to steal £600 of phones.

Then they hit him with the hammer and pulled out a handgun wrapped in a bag, which one robber pointed and fired as Mr Patel tried to protect a female customer.

A bullet which was found at the scene is being examined.

Today Mr Patel, who has owned the shop for five years, said: “My life flashed before my eyes. It was all happening so quickly.

“They came in and were fully covered which made me suspicious. I heard the cabinet smash then the hammer man ran towards me swinging it, and demanded money from the till. I kept saying ‘what money?’.

“I raised my hand to defend myself and the hammer struck my hand. Then the other pulled out a gun. The female customer was screaming.

“He said ‘I’ll shoot you’ and then fired it.

“I saw a spark fly from it. At that point we got into the back of the shop and I managed to ring the police.

“I opened the door and shouted I had rang police and I heard one of them say: ‘They’ve rang the 5 - 0s.’

“Although they were masked I could see their eyes and skin. They were white and I think they were local because they must have known the glass cabinet was at the front of the shop.”

CCTV was today being installed in the premises.

Anyone with information should call 101.