Heroic shopkeeper traps armed robber in store

Muhammad Tashfeen

A shop worker who trapped a knife-wielding robber inside the store he had tried to raid has been hailed for his bravery.

Confronted by robber Samuel Pickering, Muhammad Tashfeen ran outside to shout for help and held the shop door shut for 15 minutes until the police arrived to arrest him.

Mr Tashfeen, speaking out for the first time after Pickering was jailed for three years, has been praised by a police officer for his quick response to a “tense and frightening situation.”

He had been on his own at the Welcome convenience store and off-licence on Lodge Lane, Dukinfield, which is owned by his cousin, when Pickering charged in with a scarf on the face, holding a knife.

Mr Tashfeen, from Oldham, explained: “I was behind the counter and he shouted at me: ’open the till’. I did but I then ran out from behind the counter to close the door of the shop. I held it shut tight and shouted to a neighbour to call the police.”

Mr Tashfeen held the door for more than 15 minutes, spraining his wrist, until the police arrived to arrest Pickering and bring him to justice. He said: “My wrist still hurts a bit but it is a lot better now. I don’t think I was that brave.”

Samuel Pickering

Pickering was sentenced to three years in prison at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court  after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.

He also asked for a further 27 counts of burglary to be taken into consideration, which happened in Dukinfield, Stalybridge and Oldham.

Pickering, of no fixed abode, had only been released from prison several days before the Lodge Lane robbery on August 4, after serving time for breaching conditions of his license.

Praising Mr Tashfeen, Det Con Joseph Harrop from Tameside’s organised crime team, said: “I would like to commend the bravery of the shop worker, who was able to act quickly in such a tense and frightening situation to keep Pickering detained until response officers arrived.

“Pickering had a huge impact on such a large number of people with the crimes he committed against them and I am pleased he is now behind bars for what he has done.”

Mr Tashfeen’s cousin, shopkeeper Bilal Ashraf has hailed him a hero and has handed him a £500 reward.

Bilal said: “He saved my shop. He was on his own in the shop. He was quick thinking and so brave, because the robber had a knife with a long blade. He was behind the door trying to open it to getaway.”

Adding that he had been at the shop for more than a year, he added: “This is a very good area and I’d never had any trouble.”

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