Shop assistant assaulted in attempted phones theft

Police forensic services outside Phone Land in Gentleman's Walk on Wednesday afternoon 

Police forensic services outside Phone Land in Gentleman's Walk on Wednesday afternoon - Credit: David Cross

A city centre shop worker has been left with severe bruising after a group of yobs attempted to steal phones from under his nose.

Four youths have been captured on CCTV footage walking into the Phone Land mobile phone shop in Gentleman's Walk around 3.45pm on Wednesday. 

Phone Land staff member Hanan Hussain Syed said he was in the store alone when the group entered.

Mr Syed noticed the criminals breaking into the cabinet at the front of the shop in an attempt to steal an iPhone 11 and iPhone XR.

Police forensic services in Gentleman's Walk, Norwich, on Wednesday, May 11

Police forensic services in Gentleman's Walk, Norwich, on Wednesday, May 11 - Credit: David Cross

After grabbing the phones from them, Mr Syed shut the door to the store and told the group to stand to one side as he called the police. 

Mr Syed was then attacked with the would-be thieves running off before the cops arrived.

A spokeswoman for Norfolk Police said: "It was reported that four youths attempted to steal items before assaulting a staff member.

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"The victim suffered minor injuries as a result of the incident. Enquiries are ongoing." 

Mr Syed added: "I was scared as I was on my own and the door was locked. Anything could have happened. 

"I have a large bruise on my bicep which is very painful." 

Police forensic services arrived later at the shop and remained on scene for a couple of hours taking fingerprints and examining the CCTV footage. 

Chantry Place had earlier broadcast a message over the citywide radio scheme alerting shops to the phone thieves.

Norwich’s Chantry Place is set to extend its car park opening times. 

Norwich’s Chantry Place is set to extend its car park opening times. - Credit: Chantry Place

A spokeswoman for Chantry Place said: "Our CCTV operators spotted a group acting suspiciously in the centre and, whilst we continued to monitor them, we also made our phone stores aware as a precaution." 

Staff at the Three mobile shop in Haymarket and EE in Gentleman's Walk also noticed opportunists enter their stores that day.

A staff member at Three said: "I thought there was something suspicious going on and could see one group came in with a bit of an attitude.

"They tried to pull a phone off the stand but it is screwed on."