Shopkeeper tells of trio’s pre-planned £1,600 theft from his Dalkeith store

Mohammed Afzal Mughal of News Express in Dalkeith

Mohammed Afzal Mughal of News Express in Dalkeith

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A Dalkeith shopkeeper has relived the daylight robbery of his store by three cunning criminals - whose trickery has all been caught on camera.

The News Express shop at Eskdaill Court was targeted by the gang as store owner Mohammed Afzal Mughal (50), counted up his takings last Friday afternoon.

He said: “I was in the shop myself, counting up the money. A guy had come in to buy milk at about quarter past two. I then noticed him outside with two other guys.

“Two of them had been outside watching me. I had put the money under the counter.

“Then the three of them came in together. One chap asked me for cooking sauce.

“So I went down the other side of the shop to get it with two of them, and that’s when the money was taken.

“The two together bought a packet of crisps and left. It was only then that I realised that the money was gone. It was 30 seconds, just in a flash.

“After that I checked the CCTV footage and I saw how they did the trick. They were very clever, taking my attention like that. There was no violence. No knife or anything.”

Mr Mughal, who has managed the shop for six years, thinks it was a planned theft.

He said: “I had not seen them before. One of the two that distracted me was about 50. The other was 40/45. The one that took the money was about 30. They were all local. I could tell by their accents.

“I count the money every day at that time, so they obviously knew it would be there.

“I feel like they took the money, what can I do now?

“I feel bad though, as that’s a lot of money, a whole day’s takings. So that’s one day of work gone.

“Hopefully the police will find them. One of the police chaps that came to see me said that they had got CCTV footage from the bookies of them getting in a car. So they will check the car registration and hopefully they can trace them.

“This is the first time this has happened in my life.

“I have been doing this job for 24 years in this country.

“I have had a break-in at night, but nothing during opening times.”

Inspector Neil Mitchell based at Dalkeith said: “The first suspect is described as white, around 6ft tall, aged between 40 to 45 years old, with a slim build and wearing a green jacket and possibly a green hat. The second male is white, spoke with a local accent, around 5ft 5ins tall, heavy build, aged around 50 years old and wearing a dark jacket, beanie style hat and dark trousers. The final suspect is also white, between 5ft 8ins and 6ft tall, aged between 35 to 45 years old, medium build and seen wearing a dark coloured jacket, beanie hat with writing on the front and possibly blue jeans.

“Anyone who noticed unusual activity in the area of Eskdaill Court on Friday afternoon is asked to contact police on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”