by Elizabeth Archer and Emma Kirwan
A feisty grandmother thwarted young thugs who tried to rob her corner shop at knifepoint last night (Wednesday).
Bhanu Mistry,56, defied two masked robbers who threatened her with kitchen knives when she was alone in her shop on Low Lane in Horsforth.
She said: “There were two young lads, one had his knee on the counter and the other one came around the side of the counter so I was pinned in the corner.
“They had knives pointed towards me which must have been seven or eight inches long. They kept shouting “Open the till! Open the till!” but I didn’t.”
Ms Mistry pressed the panic button under the counter causing the robbers to flee on foot. The only damage to the shop was a Crème Egg which was squashed in the fracas.
She said: “They didn’t get away with anything. I thought, I’m not opening the till, it’s my money and these young thugs can’t have it.
“One man had his knee on the counter and pushed the knife in front of me. I must have tried to grab the knife because it cut my hands. The other man tried to come round the side of the counter, but they couldn’t get to me and I wasn’t going to give them the money I have worked so hard for. I wasn’t scared at the time but I got nervous shakes after. I’m too old to be dealing with thugs.”
The shopkeeper has owned Pinna Stores for 32 years, and is described as being a pillar in the community.
When Emily Bergan, a neighbour, found out about the attempted burglary she said: “That sounds about right. She’s a feisty lady but really lovely, and she thinks a lot about the community.”
Ms Mistry said: “My daughter lives in Australia and she has just had a baby boy. It’s the only thing which is making me happy at the moment.”
The police quickly responded to the alarm, and policemen combed the neighbourhood on foot while a police helicopter was deployed, although no arrests were made.
The suspects are described as two white males, one of whom was around 5ft 8ins and the other of whom was 5ft 6ins.
The men were both wearing hooded jackets, one with a balaclava covering his face and the other with a beanie hat and red bandana.
A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said: “We received a call at 8:45pm last night saying two masked men entered Pinna Store demanding for the till to be emptied, but the lady refused to empty the till and they left on foot. The police have searched the area, but no arrests have been made so far. Police are appealing for witnesses to call 101 with any information.”