Brave shopkeeper fights off knife-wielding robber using wine bottle

Moment a brave shopkeeper fought off a knife-wielding robber using a bottle of wine

  • Clifford Sculpher, 33, entered Wine Cellar in Blackburn armed with kitchen knife
  • He threatened shopkeeper Ajaoi Suraj, who was in his third week working there
  • CCTV footage shows Mr Suraj grab a wine bottle and wave it at the assailant before chasing him out of the store
  • Sculpher admitting attempted robbery at Preston Crown Court and was jailed for more than three years 

A rookie shopkeeper has been filmed bravely fighting off an armed robber as he tried to raid his off licence at knifepoint.

Ajaoi Suraj grabbed a bottle of Merlot from the store’s shelves and waved it at 33-year old Clifford Sculpher as the raider threatened him with a large kitchen knife and demanded money.

During the ensuing tussle caught on CCTV, Sculpher, who was wearing a yellow Parka coat, held the knife behind the neck of Mr Suraj while the shop worker urges him to leave, saying: ‘There is no money you should go.’

Mr Suraj, who in his 30s and had taken charge of the store just three weeks earlier, continued to wave the wine bottle in the face of Sculpher before chasing him away.

Sculpher admitting attempted robbery at Preston Crown Court and was jailed for more than three years

Footage of the incident at the Wine Cellar in Mill Hill, Blackburn, Lancs, emerged as Sculpher was jailed for three years and two months after admitting attempted robbery.

Preston Crown Court was told the raid occurred on January 3 this year after Sculpher had been taking illegal drugs.

Mr Suraj noticed him attempting to open the door to the till area and tried to ward him off before noticing the large kitchen knife in his hand.

The victim then grabbed the wine bottle to protect himself but Sculpher came back towards him and grabbed him by the arm while holding the knife behind his neck repeating his demand – ‘give me the money’.

On realising he wasn’t going to get any cash, Sculpher left the shop, leaving the shopkeeper in a ‘terrified’ and ‘anxious’ state.

The raider was arrested later that day after being admitted to hospital due to being in an ‘agitated state.’

Terrifying footage shows shopkeeper Ajaoi Suraj grab a bottle of Merlot from the shelves of his Wine Cellar store in Blackburn and wave it at 33-year old Clifford Sculpher as the raider threatened him with a large kitchen knife

Following an appeal for witnesses to the attempted robbery, a member of the public contacted officers after finding Sculpher’s parka coat in some bins.

Sentencing, Judge Heather Lloyd said: ‘That shopkeeper was stacking shelves when you came in threatening him with this knife.

‘He had only been working in that shop for three weeks and since this incident has been extremely worried, extremely scared.’

Mr Suraj had only been in charge of the store for three weeks when Clifford Sculpher, 33, entered the store armed with a kitchen knife and demanding money

After the case Det Sgt Steve Munro, of Blackburn Police said: ‘Sculpher’s behaviour towards a businessman trying to serve his local community was both cowardly and despicable.

‘It had a significant impact on the residents of Mill Hill who were quite rightly appalled by what Sculpher had done.

‘It was thanks to their support and good detective work that Sculpher was arrested and subsequently charged.

During the tussle caught on CCTV, Sculpher, holds the knife up to Mr Suraj, who urges him to leave, saying: ‘There is no money you should go’

Preston Crown Court was told the raid occurred on January 3 this year after Sculpher (pictured) had been taking illegal drugs

‘I would like to praise the victim who showed courage and bravery in what was clearly a distressing ordeal for him.

‘However, I would always encourage people not to challenge offenders with weapons but always to call the police for assistance when it is safe to do so.

‘I welcome the sentence handed down by the judge and hope it sends out a strong message that Lancashire Police and the courts will not tolerate anybody who threaten people with weapons or assaults emergency workers who are just trying to do their jobs.’

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