A NEW mum told today how she feared for her baby daughter and husband after a knife-wielding raider tried to rob their shop.
Sumera Zaman was upstairs with nine-week-old Alishah when she heard terrified shouts from her partner Ali as he fled from behind the counter and screamed to call the police.
A masked attacker brandished a large kitchen knife at 27-year-old Ali as a mother in her mid-30s shopped with her daughters, aged four and six, in Dawdon Store, Queen Alexandra Road, Seaham.
The raider made repeated demands for Ali to “put the money in the bag” after throwing over a plastic carrier, but the shop boss ran into the living quarters and locked the door behind him.
The would-be-thief, who was unable to reach over the counter and was shut out by a side perspex screen, fled without taking anything.
Sumera, 25, said the incident was just one of several the couple have been subjected to since taking over the business a year ago.
In one, Ali was hit on the head with bottles of lager after he chased a thief, and there have been threats and racial abuse hurled during other confrontations.
British-born Sumera’s parents are from Pakistan and Ali moved to the UK two years ago from the country.
She said: “Everybody knows there’s a baby in the shop now and that’s why the two little girls had come in, because they come to see her. It’s shocking this happened in front of them.
“I had come upstairs to feed and change the baby and didn’t know what had happened, but I heard Ali fall over the boxes on the stairs, saw him shout ‘call the police’ and could hear the kids crying.
“We only want to get somewhere in life, have a new baby and want to give her a good start.
“I was so frightened for my baby and Ali.”
The incident happened just 20 minutes before the business closed.
The man responsible covered his face with a grey scarf and, after running out of the shop, crossed the road and headed for the King Edward Road area of Dawdon.
Police believe people walking or driving in the area at the time might have seen him and could help with inquiries.
The attack happened at 8.40pm on Saturday, but police have only just released details.
A 31-year-old Seaham man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery and bailed pending inquiries.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Durham Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.