A shop owner in Preston has spoken of the terrifying moment he found himself face to face with an intruder brandishing a meat cleaver.
Reddy Dwarampudi had been watching TV in his living room when the door of his off licence in St George’s Road rang to let him know that someone had arrived at 7.45pm on Sunday, March 18.
“Usually when customers come in we come out to the shop from inside our house to serve them so the guy was here when I came out,” said Reddy, aged 60.
“He had a meat cleaver in his hand and he was fully covered up so I could only see his eyes. He said ‘give me the money’, that’s all he said. I thought, I’m in trouble here.
“I couldn’t get into the back of the house because he started to come behind the counter so I thought what can I do so I pressed the panic button and he just ran off. I went out to see which direction he was going in but I couldn’t see him anywhere although there was a white car outside in the middle of the road which drove off.
“The whole thing happened within a minute.”
Reddy, who has run Reddy’s off licence alongside his wife Leela, 56, for 37 years says he has been threatened in attempted robberies before but this was the most frightening.
“This one was scary because he had a meat cleaver,” said Reddy. “It was quite a big one as well.
“In a state of panic sometimes you forget what to do but this time I managed to think to hit the panic button. It is loud and must have given him a shock.
“I’ve recovered now I was quite shaken up afterwards.”
Detective constable Dan Armstrong, of Preston Criminal investigation department, said: “This was an extremely frightening incident for the shopkeeper and his wife. Although the robbery was unsuccessful, the couple have been extremely shaken by their ordeal.”