OPEN this article to see CCTV of the terrifying moment a shopkeeper was sprayed in the face with a dangerous chemical.
Anilkumar Sivanandan was temporarily blinded by what is thought to have been ammonia, squirted by a robber at VG Foodstore in East Rainton.
Police have now released CCTV images of the incident at the Durham Road shop, which happened at about 7.30pm on January 9, in a bid to trace the intruder.
After spraying Mr Sivanandan, he jumped over the counter and stole about £300 before running off towards the Highfield Hotel.
Investigating officers now say they believe the robber waited around outside the shop for a time before going inside.
Mr Sivanandan, 45, who has run the shop with wife Arsha, 41, for nine years, said: “He came into the shop, didn’t say anything, then sprayed something from a water bottle in my face.
“I went straight away to wash my face because my eyes were stinging and the smell was terrible.”
The dad-of-two has had regular treatment at Sunderland Eye Infirmary to reduce the swelling and redness in his eyes caused by the attack, but he still suffers from impaired vision.
Detective Sergeant Barbara McGough, of Northumbria Police, said: “It’s been four weeks since this robbery took place and we’ve been carrying out extensive enquiries in relation to it.
“This was a frightening experience for the shopkeeper, and he is still suffering from the incident.
“We’re doing everything possible to trace the person responsible.”
“We’ve now got CCTV images of the man inside the shop who we need to trace in relation to the incident.”
She added: “He is wearing quite a distinctive top, and I’d urge anyone who knows him, recognises him or has information about the incident to get in touch with police.”
Witnesses can contact Northumbria Police on 101, extension 69191, or independent charity Crimestopppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.