CAMBS: Shopkeeper thought gun-wielding robbers were kids trick or treating
A SHOPKEEPER has spoken of his horror after he realised that two men who burst into his store on Halloween were not trick-or-treaters - but gun-wielding robbers.
Father-of-two Sathiah Pillai, who owns London Road Stores, in Chatteris, was by himself when masked raiders pointed guns at him and demanded cash from the till.
The 41-year-old said: “At first I thought it was kids trick or treating, then I realised they had a shotgun.”
Daniel Robertson, 20, and David Caley, 30, were jailed for their part in the armed robbery today.
Robertson, of High Street, Chatteris, stood in the doorway pointing a pump-action weapon at Mr Pillai. His unknown accomplice threatened the shopkeeper with a pistol before stealing the till draw, containing �300, and �250 worth of cigarettes.
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The pair fled in a getaway car driven by Caley, of Huntingdon Road, Chatteris.
Mr Pillai, who has kept the dramatic CCTV footage on his iPhone, said: “I was by myself and standing behind the counter. They came in, held a gun up to me and told me to open the till. One of them stood by the door.
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“The one by the door looked like he had a shotgun. I don’t know if it was real now, but at the time my mind just froze.
“I didn’t open the till, I just said there was no money. All of a sudden one came round the back of the counter.
“He took the money and even made me lift the till tray up to see if there was more under there.
“He had a black bag which he filled up with cigarettes. While he was doing that I pressed the panic button.
“I was really shocked because it is the first time anything like that has happened to me. I didn’t know what I was doing - I thought I could die.”
Robertson was jailed for seven years and Caley was jailed for seven-and a-half years at Peterborough Crown Court after both admitted armed robbery.
They were both also sentenced to five months for possession of a firearm - to run concurrently.
A passer-by had seen the men fleeing the scene and wrote the car’s registration number down. Armed officers searched the area and two hours later Robertson and Caley were arrested.
The guns were never recovered.
Detective Constable Jon Edwards said: “This was a terrifying experience for the shopkeeper and I hope today’s result will allow him some closure.
“These sentences should send out a clear message to others that this type of crime will not be tolerated and we will use all of the tactics available to us to ensure offenders are caught.”
Mr Pillai, who lives in Cambridge with his wife and two children, has owned London Road Stores for almost three years. He moved to England from Sri Lanka 16 years ago.
He added: “They have done wrong and it is right they should have a strong punishment. I always keep an eye out now.”