I WILL not be beaten by the robbers!
Defiant shopkeeper Santokh Lal insists he will battle on despite a fifth armed robbery in a year.
Mr Lal was threatened at knifepoint by two masked men who said they would kill him in the latest of a string of raids on SK News on Newsome Road in Stile Common.
It was nearly a year to the day since the 52-year-old chased off two gunmen who tried to force him to hand over cash.
He said: “It’s disheartening, but I’m determined to carry on.
“This is a nice community and it’s only got bad recently. I don’t know why. I’m not going to let them beat me.”
The father-of-three has run his shop for the last 19 years.
He said he had not had any problems up until last year.
Since the first incident last July, he has fought off a knife-wielding robber with a pole and chased a gunman from his shop.
In the latest incident the robbers threatened to kill Mr Lal and his family before attempting to force their way into the shop till.
But they fled with just two bottles of brandy.
Mr Lal chased them, but they escaped.
He said: “It scares you at the time, but once the adrenaline kicks in you’re not thinking about your safety.
“There could be an elderly person out there who could get hurt.”
Two men, aged 18 and 21, were arrested over last Sunday’s incident.
Two people were jailed for last July’s raid.
But Mr Lal said prison had become a soft touch.
He said: “I’ve heard people talk about which prison they would rather be in and giving them star ratings.
“If they are getting facilities that people outside can’t even afford, there’s no chance of anything getting better.”
SK News customer Christine Battye, of Stile Common Road, said Mr Lal was an integral part of the community.
She said: “It’s absolutely sickening what he has been through. He has become disillusioned, but we are looking out for him.
“We want the people who are doing this to know that there’s a lot of people who are keeping an eye on things.”