The Newland Fryer owned by Shaz Kaur in Scunthorpe is popular with locals and this incident left the whole community concerned for the safety of Shaz Kaur and her 16 year old assistant. The chip shop had only been open 20 minutes when the knife wielding William Smyth raced in to rob the shop.
Shaz Kaur described the terrifying moment a knife-wielding robber burst in and demanded money from a 16-year-old girl who was serving, Kaur told the court how she was forced to hand over takings of £107 by William Smyth when he targeted the shop on November 12.
Smyth, 26, was jailed on Friday after admitting robbery and possession of a knife.
Shaz had just opened the shop for the evening when Smyth, of nearby Axholme Road, entered with a pillowcase over his head and demanded cash.
She said: “I was here with a 16-year-old girl who had only recently started, so I told her to get in the kitchen and got the money out of the till as the man said. I had a responsibility to keep my staff safe.
“I’m just angry that someone put us through this. Someone doesn’t deserved to be robbed a few months into their first ever job.
Newland Fryer owner Shaz Kaur says the robbery has made her fearful of leaving staff alone, reports the Grimsby Telegraph
“I was really frightened while it happened, my heart was beating so fast. At the end of the day, my life is worth more than the money, so I handed over what was in the till.
“We had only been open 20 minutes, so there wasn’t much in it yet.”
Despite defiantly keeping the shop open until the normal closing time on the night of the ordeal, Shaz says it has affected the way she runs her business.
She said: “I don’t like leaving my staff on their own now, even if I’m just stepping in the back for a minute. It makes you wonder if you can trust people.
“However, I do have very loyal customers who will help me out and watch the shop if I ask them.
“I’m self-employed – I’m not going to let someone force me to close. We’ve kept the shop open and carried on as normal.”
After word spread about the robbery, the business on Newland Avenue was inundated with support from the Scunthorpe community.
Shaz said: “The phone didn’t stop ringing all night with people ringing up to check we were alright. Staff who don’t work here any longer were coming in to see if they could help out, and people were bringing in flowers the following morning.”
“Normally, it is a very safe, friendly area so I don’t want people to get the wrong idea about the street. I’ve been here 28 years and I’m very proud of the area.”
Grimsby Crown Court heard Smyth went to the Newland Fryer wearing a pillow case over his head with holes for the eyes. The pillow case was later found by police on Axholme Road and his DNA was inside it.
Prosecuting, Jeremy Evans said Smyth leapt over the counter and told the 16-year-old student, who worked at the fish and chip shop one day a week: “Open the till or I’ll use this.”
Shaz pushed her out of the way and bravely confronted Smyth before handing over the bag of takings.
Ian Haywood, mitigating, told the court that Smyth apologised unreservedly, saying; “He is utterly ashamed of himself for the effect on the young lady.”
Smyth, who had convictions for 27 previous offences, was jailed for three years and four months but Shaz said she was disappointed the sentence was not longer.
Speaking after the case, she said: “I definitely thought he would be sentenced to much longer.
“Police officers and magistrates who come in the shop as customers were telling me he would probably be sentenced to seven years – he’s got less than half of that and I don’t understand why.”
The 16-year-old employee who was serving on the evening of the robbery said she had been determined to keep going to work.
She said: “The few months after it were tough, I was still afraid of Smyth.
“But I didn’t want to give up my job. The only way to get through it was to keep coming to work. I thought his sentence would be a lot more given what happened though.”