A have-a-go hero last night described how he chased a man armed with a knife after a hold-up at a newsagent’s shop in Inverness.
Stephen MacDonald, who lives in a flat above the Greig Street Stores, was on his way inside when he heard a scream from a shop worker.
A man dashed past and Mr MacDonald gave chase, following the raider along a number of nearby streets until he disappeared out of sight.
When he returned to the shop, staff told him the man had threatened them with a knife before making his escape.
Customers were being turned away from the premises by police following the incident, which happened around 10.15am yesterday.
Officers refused to confirm whether a weapon was involved, but it was the fourth high-profile robbery to be carried out in the Highland capital this year.
Mr MacDonald said he was shocked to find himself at the centre of the latest drama.
He said: “I was just a few feet from the shop when someone ran out.
“I heard a scream from a woman inside, so I just chased him. I thought he must have nicked a Pot Noodle or something.
“I was shouting at him and nearly had him at one point. But I wouldn’t have gone after him if I had known he had a knife.”
Mr MacDonald, 37, an electrical engineer, said he followed the man along King Street and towards Celt Street and Muirtown Street, but lost sight of him in the Davis Square area.
He added: “When I went back and asked what happened, they said that some guy had a knife and was robbing the place.
“They said it was a big knife.
“The woman in the shop was just in shock.”
Officers wearing blue gloves were seen examining the interior of the busy shop, which is on a main pedestrian route into the city centre.
Specialist search teams also combed the gardens of flats along King Street and peered underneath parked cars, into wheelie bins and scoured the grounds of Bishop Eden Primary School.
Residents in Greig Street were shocked to see police activity in the area on a normally peaceful Sunday morning.
One local resident said she heard sirens in the area shortly after 10am.
There was no information on what was taken from the shop.
However, police said the suspect was 5ft 8in and was wearing a dark baseball cap with three distinctive white stripes on the cap.
He also had a grey hooded top and grey jogging bottoms.
A police spokesman said: “Investigations are at a very early stage and inquiries are ongoing at this time.”
The robbery is the latest serious incident in the city since the start of the year.
Police are still hunting a knifeman who attempted to rob Barney’s newsagent in Church Street on Saturday, August 16.
A man appeared in court in September, charged with an armed robbery at the Ladbrokes betting shop at Balloan Road in the Hilton area of the city in August.
It is alleged that a cashier was held up at knifepoint and a four-figure sum taken.
Two men also appeared in court after an alleged robbery from the Paddy Power bookmakers on Sunday, March 30.