Plymouth shopkeeper defiant after syringe threat robbery
A BRAVE shopkeeper who fought off an armed robber has said he will not be beaten by criminals.
Dennis Naci was praised by a judge after seeing off a thug armed with a hyperdermic needle – by pushing a chewing gum display into him.
Damian Janes, aged 32, was jailed for three years at Plymouth Crown Court for robbery and attempted robbery.
Judge Jeremy Griggs said Mr Naci had shown "considerable bravery" in seeing off Janes.
But Mr Naci, aged 35, shrugged off the praise at The Corner Shop he runs at the junction of North Hill and North Road East.
He said: "Over the last two years you have just had to get used to it. I am not going to let him steal my money. It is hard to make money, you are picking up pennies all day."
Mr Naci, who also runs another store in Efford Lane, said he had been confronted by thieves and robbers about half a dozen times in the past two years.
He said he remained calm and told Lanes to walk away, pointing out the CCTV cameras, during the raid on December 5.
Mr Naci added Janes "tried to get him" six or seven times with the needle.
He said: "If someone has a knife, they stab you. But with a syringe it could have been anything. It could have killed me in two minutes or two seconds."
The court heard that Janes claimed he only had part of the syringe and could not have infected Mr Naci.
But the brave shopkeeper was unimpressed with the sentence, which also covered a robbery of a Co-op store in West Hoe.
He added: "It is not enough. If he had got me, he could have killed me. Is my life worth just three years?"
Mr Naci said he would not give up the stores.
He added: "It is better than going to the Job Centre and getting £70 a week or whatever."
The court heard that Janes, formerly of the Salvation Army Hostel in Devonport, committed the offences after taking cocaine and Valium.