A Fife shopkeeper has told how a draughty front door may have helped save his life during a terrifying armed robbery.
Jatinder Singh was working at Jaesy Off Licence on Cromwell Road in Burntisland on the evening of February 8 when a masked thief entered the store at around 7.20pm.
The 49-year-old was threatened with a blade as thug Alex Forbes demanded money from the till and cigarettes.
Mr Singh managed to push the thief away with a large office chair before hitting the panic alarm button with a bottle of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum.
A gust of wind then partially opened the front door and set off the doorbell, prompting the thief to flee the scene almost empty handed.
Mr Singh said: “I was sitting watching a movie behind the counter when he came into the shop.
“He came round and started shouting ‘give me your money, give me your cigarettes’. He had a knife in his hand and came right up to me. At first I thought it was a joke.
“He told me to put the cigarettes in the bag and to open the till. I was trying to calm him down. I said ‘Are you crazy? What are you doing?’
“I opened the till but luckily I had already emptied most of it at the start of my shift. He reached over and grabbed £90.
“I managed to push the chair towards him and grabbed a half bottle of Captain Morgan’s which I used to push the alarm button.
“But there was strong gust of wind outside which set off the doorbell and I think he got a fright thinking a customer was coming in.
“I told him I’d set off the alarm and the police were coming.”
Mr Singh’s ordeal can be revealed after 38-year-old Forbes was jailed at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court earlier this week for the armed robbery.
CCTV footage from inside the shop captured the incident, and police were able to track Forbes who had fled the scene on a push bike.
“He went down James Park Lane but he wasn’t going quickly even though I was shouting after him,” Mr Singh said.
“It was definitely him though because he had the same bag over his shoulder.
“At one point I was scared. His mask started to slip down when he was standing right up close to me.”
The brave shopkeeper even managed to serve two more customers who came into the shop before the police arrived.
“I’ve been working in the industry for more than 20 years and I’ve never had anything like this happen before,” he added.
Forbes was already serving a 31-month sentence in HMP Glenochil for an assault when he appeared from custody in Kirkcaldy this week, when Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist QC sentenced him to a further 26 months in prison for the robbery.