TV appeal in hunt for armed gang who attacked shopkeeper
POLICE are hoping these CCTV images and a television appeal will help catch an armed gang who attacked a shopkeeper.
The robbery at the Spend and Save store featured on BBC1's Crimewatch Roadshow programme this week.
The shop was raided in the early hours of August 2 last year, and manager Parthiphan Ponnusamy was hit with a metal bar when he challenged the thugs.
He had been woken at 2.20am when the alarm in the Lawton Road shop in Sandbach started going off.
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He was confronted downstairs by three men, one wearing a balaclava.
They were in the process of stealing cigarettes from the main counter and ran from the shop dragging a bag behind them.
Mr Ponnusamy grabbed the bag, which the men dropped in the street as they tried to get away.
He began to drag it back to the shop and alert police, however two of the men returned and tried to grab the bag back.
He then fought the two men off, one of whom was hitting him with a metal bar.
Mr Ponnusamy grabbed hold of the metal bar and tried to pull the offender back into the shop.
After a struggle his assailants ran off and a vehicle was seen driving away along Sandbach Road South towards Alsager railway station and Staffordshire.
Mr Ponnusamy received facial injuries and cuts to his head.
Police have never caught the offenders, so a fresh appeal for information was launched on the Crimewatch Roadshow programme.
The show, which broadcasts at 9.15am each day, sees presenters Rav Wilding and Dave Guest appealing to the public for help with unsolved cases.
The appeal, which featured CCTV footage of the raid, said: "At 2,20am on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 three thugs, armed with metal bars, break their way into a local store.
"They begin to take cigarettes from behind the shop counter and put them in a bright yellow bag.
"The shop owner comes down the stairs and the thugs leave.
"Unbelievably seconds later the gang returns. The owner has to fight them off – metal bars and all. Help us catch these men."
Mr Ponnusamy, aged 28, said he was pleased the raid had featured on the show.
"It's good that another appeal has been made," he said.
"Hopefully it will help catch the people responsible.
"I was really shocked after it happened, it was really hard. I hope they catch them."
A Cheshire Police spokesman said: "The victim showed considerable bravery in his actions in fighting off the cowardly offenders who attacked him with a metal bar and despite his injuries, he refused treatment.
"We are endeavouring to bring the offenders to justice and would urge anyone with information to come forward."
Anyone with information can contact Crimewatch Roadshow by email at CWR@bbc.co.uk, putting Cheshire Cigarette Robbers in the subject line, or by phone on 08000 468 999.
Alternatively call Cheshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.