A shopkeeper has spoken of the moment a masked would-be robber burst into his store with an axe.

Kanwal Sheera, 48, was working on Sunday (November 5) at his father’s shop Sheera Stores in Brook Lane, Sundridge Park, when a person came in wearing black clothes and carrying a bag. He said their face was covered, and they wore protective eyewear.

The robber walked up to the shop counter and put down a note which told Mr Sheera to put the money from the till and all the shop’s cigarettes into the bag.

He said: "I initially thought he was a regular customer having a joke.

“ I went behind the counter. He put a note on the counter saying, ‘don’t say anything, just put all the cigarettes and cash from the till in the bag.’

“He produced a large sports bag in front of me and opened it up. Then he put the note in front of me.

“I initially pretended I could not read it. Then he pointed to the note again, bashing his finger down on the counter like a teacher does with a student. I ignored him."

Mr Sheera said the person attempted to come behind the counter.

He said: "I didn’t let him in past the counter. He put his hand into his jacket and produced a big axe.

“By that time my wife and mum had obviously seen something on the CCTV and came out to see what was happening. My wife shouted at him. Through instinct I reacted and snatched the axe off him."

He added: "He was standing outside the counter and I had the axe in my hand. He seemed stunned and didn’t know what to do and he walked out with his bag."

Mr Sheera said if the assailant had appeared to be an adult, he may have been frightened.

He said: "But I knew he was a little kid and there was no way I was going to let him take anything.

A spokeswoman from the Met police confirmed that police were called at 2.40pm on Sunday after a shopkeeper was threatened with an axe.

The police said that so far, no arrests have been made.

Mr Sheera said: “I’m not worried. We’ve been here since 1984 and it is the first time something like this has happened.

“It was a serious crime. He had a big axe with him and he had every intention of taking something.

“To be honest I don’t think he would have hurt me. He seemed really frightened.

“There’s a real sense of community around here and we are well known. People say if there is any problem they will come and stand with us in the evening.”