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Armed robbers hold Premier shopkeeper at knifepoint in Colchester before stealing cigarettes and booze

PUBLISHED: 18:56 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:24 13 January 2018

Kumarasamy Pathmaruban was subjected to an armed robbery at his Premier store in Church Lane Colchester. Picture: ARCHANT

Kumarasamy Pathmaruban was subjected to an armed robbery at his Premier store in Church Lane Colchester. Picture: ARCHANT

An Essex shopkeeper has told of the terrifying moment four armed men entered his store, held a knife to his neck, injured his friend and stole £5,000-worth of cigarettes and alcohol.

Kumarasamy Pathmaruban was subjected to an armed robbery at his Premier store in Church Lane Colchester. Picture: ARCHANT Kumarasamy Pathmaruban was subjected to an armed robbery at his Premier store in Church Lane Colchester. Picture: ARCHANT

Kumarasamy Pathmaruban, 41, was out the back of his Premier store in Church Lane, Colchester, on Thursday night when the robbers came storming in.

At first he thought the noise was his friend, who was visiting from London.

“I heard a big noise and thought my friend had fallen over,” he said.

“Then these guys came into the shop.

Kumarasamy Pathmaruban was subjected to an armed robbery at his Premier store in Church Lane Colchester. Picture: ARCHANT Kumarasamy Pathmaruban was subjected to an armed robbery at his Premier store in Church Lane Colchester. Picture: ARCHANT

“They had a big knife and put it to my neck and told me to lay down.

“So I lay down on the floor and my friend also lay down, and he got hit with a knife on his finger.”

Father-of-two Mr Pathmaruban said the robbers took cigarettes and alcohol from behind the counter worth an estimated £5,000.

He said he was “scared” by the robbery “but I’m OK now”.

“My friend is not so well, though,” he added.

“He was taken to hospital after his finger was tapped with the knife.”

Mr Pathmaruban returned from hospital at 3am - and was up at 6am to open the shop, where he works 16 hours a day, seven days a week, with help from his wife.

Essex Police’s Dc Mark Peacock said the robbery was unusual for the area - Lexden is a mainly residential area.

“That area is not usually a hot spot for crime or antisocial behaviour, so it is unusual for shops to be targeted,” he said.

“We are doing everything we can to support the victim and track down the offenders who are thought to have run off down an alleyway.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said officers were investigating the robbery, which was reported at around 9pm.

“Four men entered Premier on Church Lane, pushed staff to the floor and threatened them with a knife,” he added.

“The men took alcohol and cigarettes and ran out of the shop in the direction of Rusdale Way.

“A man in his 40s was taken to hospital with a cut to hand.”

Witnesses are asked to call Colchester CID on 101, quoting reference 42/5278/18.

Alternatively people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via the online form, which can be found at www.crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information.

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