Raid victims relive terrifying ordeal

THE VICTIMS of an armed gang that put one man in hospital and left another injured during two terrifying raids in west Suffolk have spoken of their ordeal.

THE VICTIMS of an armed gang that put one man in hospital and left another injured during two terrifying raids in west Suffolk have spoken of their ordeal.

Detectives investigating the attacks are trying to piece together clues from a trail of destruction left by three robbers, who were brandishing a shotgun, wrench and baseball bat when they struck at nearby stores on Tuesday evening

Last night, one of the shop-owners told of his shock at coming face-to-face with the balaclava-clad men, while the other praised the actions of “brave” staff members who confronted the gang, causing them to flee his store empty handed.

The drama unfolded at just after 7pm, when staff at the New Mart shop in Brickfield Avenue, Newmarket, were preparing to leave for the day.

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“Mr brother was in the store with another member of staff, when they heard a knock at the door,” said Janu Ali, who has run the store with his business partner, Abu Shuaib for the past two years.

“They said the shop was closed, and the next thing they knew there was a loud bang, a pane of glass was smashed at the bottom of the door, and three men started crawling through the hole into the shop.”

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Instinctively, Mr Ali's younger brother, 20-year-old Hussian Miah, ran to the front of the shop to tackle the men while his colleague, Kamal Hussian , hid the day's takings.

“My brother hit one of the men, who backed off,” he said. “The remaining two men then ganged up on my brother, so Kamal tried to help him but was hit by a metal object.”

Mr Hussain, who was bleeding heavily from a cut to his head, fell to the floor, prompting the three men to crawl back through the hole in the door and run off in the direction of the Studlands Park estate.

The 32-year-old was taken to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, but was later released and is now recovering at home.

“The men obviously weren't expecting to be confronted, and ran when they saw the blood,” said Mr Ali, 32.

“I have always told my staff not to put themselves at risk because life is more important than money, but I think both Hussian and Kamal were very brave.

“There was about £1,000 in the safe, and another £1,000 that Kamal hid in the till, and if it wasn't for him and my brother that money might have been stolen.”

Police believe that upon leaving the shop, the three men made their way to the Londis store in Barrow, where they threatened Yogesh Patel, and his cousin, Ase .

Mr Patel, who has run the shop with his wife, Varsh for the past seven years, was about to close for the day when he saw three men who he mistook to be customers.

“It all happened very quickly,” he said. “My cousin was sweeping the floor when all of a sudden one of the men grabbed him, and then another one came to the counter holding a shotgun.”

Mr Patel tried to grab the gun, but the man hit him in the face, cutting his cheek. Another man, who was brandishing a monkey wrench, hit him in the lower back.

“I tried to fight back but there was three of them and two of us, and there was nothing we could do,” he said.

“They asked for money from the safe, then they grabbed a bag which contained one-and-a-half days takings, and left the shop.

“I have been here for seven years, but I ran a shop in London for 30 years before that and nothing like this has ever happened to me before.

“But it has happened now and I am just pleased no one was badly hurt.”

Suffolk police said the gang's getaway car - a silver Ford Sierra that had been stolen from Waterloo Close in Newmarket earlier in the evening - was later discovered abandoned in Petticoat Lane in Barrow.

The men are all described as being of medium build, and were wearing long sleeved tops.

Detective Sergeant Graham Moss said: “The two incidents are being linked due to the locations and times of the incidents.”

Police also said they are not ruling out the possibility that the incidents could be linked to raids at two post offices last month, in Wickhambrook and Assington.

Anyone with information should contact Det Sgt Moss on 01473 613872, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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