A BEXLEYHEATH shop assistant has told of his horrifying ordeal being pistol-whipped at the hands of five hooded thugs.

Bret Smith, 60, was waiting to close up the Trade Fireworks store in Pickford Lane at around 10.30pm on New Year’s Eve when the robbers burst in.

The part time employee had been minding the shop on his own and enjoying a curry and a couple of beers to see in 2014.

But his peace was shattered when two of the gang charged behind the counter and dragged him into a back room demanding he open the safe.

The roofer was soon reeling after being hit around the head so hard the magazine fell out of the gun.

He told News Shopper: “There were five black guys. One of them came over the counter, held a gun to my head and shouted ‘where’s the money?’

“Then they dragged me out the back and pistol whipped me. I told them there wasn’t any money in the safe but they didn’t believe me and made me open it.

“There were two five pound notes left in the till as a float and they took them and my phone on the counter.

“I would think they were there about 10 minutes throwing me around and looking for money.”

Mr Smith, who lives in Erith but did not want to give his road name, said two of the robbers attacked him while three younger-looking “apprentices” kept watch.

They then fled down an alley in the direction of Oldfield Road leaving their victim with a gash to the head which needed gluing shut.

Mr Smith says he has had trouble sleeping since the robbery and has had to ease himself back into work.

He said: “It wasn’t the best start to 2014. I’m not racist and I usually go to Gambia for my holidays – there’s good and bad in everybody really.

“It’s just desperate times I guess. It could have been worse – they could have shot me or stabbed me.

“I’m just taking it easy at the moment and doing some simple jobs to pass the time.”

Detective Sergeant Scott Chimes of the Met Flying Squad, said: "I am appealing to local people in particular who may have been in the area at the time of the robbery and may have witnessed the incident, or seen the suspects running towards Oldfield Road, to contact the police.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the police on 020 8345 4226 or to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.