A 72-YEAR-OLD shopkeeper used a shopping basket to see off a robber who threatened his wife and then stabbed him in the hand.

Indu Patel was working at his shop, the Premier store in Coppins Road, Clacton, when a hooded man wearing a face mask walked up to the counter and brandished a knife.

He demanded cash from Mr Patel’s wife Ranjan, but brave Indu was having none of it.

She said: “I was working on my laptop and he walked up to the counter. He wasn’t tall and he just put the knife on the counter.

“It was 12 to 14 inches and it wasn’t a kitchen knife - it had a special design.

“I was scared but I just opened my laptop to make a shield and shouted for my husband.”

Indu ran around the side of the robber to stop him from getting behind the counter to his wife.

“I picked up a shopping basket and I hit him with it,” said the shopkeeper.

“I went backwards and he tried stabbing me but he just cut my finger, which then bled.

“I was scared but I was very lucky. If I had gone froward at that point, he would have cut my stomach.”

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A boy or girl, who had been acting as a look out, then shouted at the assailant to leave and the pair ran off towards Melbourne Road.

Mrs Patel added: “My husband was very brave - I’m very proud of him.

“The pair had been outside for a few minutes beforehand.

“They saw no customers but didn’t know my husband was stocking up at the back of the shop

“I don’t think he spoke proper English, he just said: ‘Give me money’.”

“He didn’t really say anything else - I think he was shocked to see my husband there.”

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The couple have run the shop for 34 years and previously ran a supermarket in Old Road.

They also fought off a robber armed with a knife about 15 years ago, that time throwing a box at the assailant.

The latest robbery happened on Thursday at 9.05pm.

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The robber is described as white, aged in his 20s, of medium build, and wore a dark hooded top with the hood up, white gloves and a blue medical face mask.

Witnesses should call PC Steve Baldwin, at Clacton CID, on 101.