Retailer hails police and staff's response to knife threat

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Leamington Spa One Stop franchisee Sunder Sandher has hailed Warwickshire Police for its “fantastic” response when staff were allegedly threatened at knifepoint.

Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) research shows that most are unhappy with the consistency of the response they get from police.

But when two males asked staff in One Stop, Leamington Spa for money from the till while brandishing a six-inch blade two weeks ago, police turned up within two minutes, and CID about 15-20 minutes later.

“They were absolutely brilliant,” said Sunder Sandher. “They closed the shop for a couple of hours, taking statements and did a search.

“The following morning I had a call from CID to say they caught them. When people say the police aren’t doing their job properly it just shows – they did a fantastic job.

“It gives neighbouring businesses confidence seeing Warwickshire Police and CID so proactive.”

Sunder described how one member of staff retreated to the back of the shop but another, Shwan Aziz, decided to have a go.

“He picked up a golf club, jumped over the counter and chased them.”

Sunder said he advises staff in this type of situation not to be heroes and just put their hands up, but the adrenalin kicked in.

Sunder tried to reward Shwan but the staff member refused to accept it. “He said this is my store as much as yours. I love the store and I want to protect it.

“I tried to be a bit cheeky and put it in his wages but he gave it back again and said I’d paid him too much.”

Detective Sgt for Leamington Spa Gareth Unett said: “Protecting people from harm is at the heart of everything that Warwickshire Police does.

“People should be able to live and work within Warwickshire without being subject to incidents such as this. We therefore seek to actively target those in the community who cause the most harm and distress.”

James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said: “Crimes against convenience stores must remain a priority for local police forces, and we encourage retailers to build relationships with their local PCSOs and forces to make sure that they are aware of any ongoing issues.”

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