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‘He started swearing and took his gun out’ - attempted robbery at pharmacy

Mr Maziar Moaddabi, Superintendent Pharmacist, who was held up at gunpoint at Vauxhall Street Pharmacy yesterday, October 16. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Mr Maziar Moaddabi, Superintendent Pharmacist, who was held up at gunpoint at Vauxhall Street Pharmacy yesterday, October 16. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Neil Didsbury/Archant 2020

A pharmacist has described the terrifying moment when a man armed with what appeared to be a gun threatened him in an attempted robbery.

Mr Maziar Moaddabi, Superintendent Pharmacist, who was held up at gunpoint at Vauxhall Street Pharmacy yesterday, October 16. Picture: Neil DidsburyMr Maziar Moaddabi, Superintendent Pharmacist, who was held up at gunpoint at Vauxhall Street Pharmacy yesterday, October 16. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The man walked into the Vauxhall Street Pharmacy, in Suffolk Square, Norwich, at just after 2pm on Friday and confronted owner Maz Moaddabi, who was behind the counter.

But the would-be robber fled after Mr Moaddabi started to shout at him and police, who were rapidly on the scene, arrested a man a short time later.

Mr Moaddabi said: “He came in just after we’d reopened following lunch. He had written something on a piece of paper and I thought he wanted a prescription.

“His handwriting was very bad and I told him he needed to get in line, as there were other people in the shop and there was a queue.

Vauxhall Street Pharmacy. Picture: Neil DidsburyVauxhall Street Pharmacy. Picture: Neil Didsbury

“He started swearing and then he took his gun out and it was only then that I realised what was going on.”

Mr Moaddabi said he started to shout at the man and told him to leave.

He said: “That was probably a stupid thing for me to do, but you don’t really think in these situations. There were a lot of other people in the shop and he ran out. The police were here in minutes and they said they arrested him a short while later.”

Mr Moaddabi said the man, who had written his name on the note, was not one of his regular customers and he had not seen him before.

The pharmacy closed for a few hours following the attempted robbery, but it opened later on Friday and was open again on Saturday.

Mr Moaddabi said: “I have had people coming in to ask if we are okay. There’s a good community around here and we all look after each other.

“I’ve been here for six or seven years now and I’ve had nothing like this here before, although I was raided when I had a pharmacy in Anglia Square many years ago.”

Norfolk police confirmed a man had been arrested on suspicion of armed robbery and that an air powered pistol had been seized.

Superintendent Terry Lordan, Norwich policing commander, said: “These incidents are really rare within Norwich. Clearly, my thoughts are with anybody impacted by this.
“We have a male in custody and if there are any witnesses to the incident, we would urge them to contact us on 101.”


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