Burka-wearing robbers foiled by brave traders

Kevin Hannan and Mansoor Quereshi
Kevin Hannan and Mansoor Quereshi
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A fearless estate agent risked his own life by jumping in front of a getaway car as two men wearing burkas fled the scene of an attempted armed robbery on a fashion store.

Covered from head to toe, the two robbers raced into the Star Fashions store in Wolverton on Wednesday afternoon, threatening staff, a customer and even a three-year-old girl with what appeared to be guns before leaving empty-handed.

In an effort to identify the two masked assailants, Kevin Hannan, director of the estate agents Moving Me, chased the men around the side of the store where their getaway car was parked and bravely tried to prevent them from driving off.

“There was a lot of commotion. The shopkeeper came running to the front of our store shouting that there was a robbery,” said the 34-year-old father of a four-week-old baby.

“I stood in front of the car to try to see if I might be able to identify them. Of course they weren’t about to stop and so they drove the car forward and knocked into me. The people around had to help me up.”

It had been a normal Wednesday afternoon for Star Fashions owner Mansoor Quereshi, 29, before the two men charged through the door at around 2pm.

He said: “My sister and brother-in-law were helping out in the store at the time. Their three-year-old daughter was also playing at the front of the shop and there was a customer in the store too.

“One guy ran to the jewellery section where my brother was. He opened a bag and told my brother to put the jewellery into the bag. My brother thought the gun might be a dummy gun and started arguing with him.

“He tried to grab the gun and a piece of it fell off. We’re not sure whether it was real or not.”

The aggressors then tried to break open the jewellery cabinet, but were unsuccessful.

“My brother tried to pull off the burka to try to see his face, added Mr Quereshi. “We hope the police might be able to see something on the CCTV.

“My sister tried to call the police and make a noise, and her daughter was crying.”

Soon realising their plans had failed, the two robbers are said to have panicked and fled towards Aylesbury Street, dropping the tool they had used to try to break open the cabinet on the way.

The police arrived shortly afterwards but the two men managed to escape, despite a police helicopter being deployed.

Star Fashions reopened on Thursday and Mr Quereshi says he is looking to improve security as a result of the robbery.

He said: “We’re all pretty shaken up, especially when there was a child involved. But we’re all glad no one was hurt.”