A FATHER-of-four is calling for action after police took two hours to respond to his 999 call – despite him being less than 350 yards from a police station.
Great Harwood shopkeeper Altaf Patel, 28, rang the police after a spade-wielding thug threatened to kill him shortly after 11am on Monday.
His shop, Techno DIY, on Blackburn Road, is only about a quarter of a mile away from Great Harwood Police Station – yet it was 1pm before officers finally arrived.
Mr Patel, who lives in Blackburn, said: "I was absolutely terrified. I have had my shop for two years and have never had any problems or complaints.
"A man I had never seen before came into the shop and starting saying I was overpriced and that he could pick up most of my stock for a pound in Manchester.
"I wasn’t about to get into an argument so I served him and he left. Shortly afterwards he retur-ned, demanding his money back, and when I told him he could only have a credit note he picked up a spade and threatened to kill me.
"I remember feeling quite calm but very scared. I asked him if I could make a phone call before he killed me and surprisingly he said ‘yes’.
"I phoned the police and as I told them someone was threatening to kill me with a spade he put it back in the stand and ran off towards Commercial Road."
When the police finally arrived they told him that they had not attended immediately because they believed he was not in immediate danger as the man had fled.
Hyndburn Council leader Peter Britcliffe slammed the delay as "appalling".
He said: "I have now written to the police to find out what the problem was because waiting two hours for this sort of incident is too long.
"You would have thought 11 o’clock on a Monday morning wouldn’t have been the busiest time but I assume the lack of resources is to blame."
The man is described as Asian with a moustache, wearing cream jeans, a short-sleeved blue shirt and white trainers.
Mr Patel said: "I bought the shop in the first place because it was near the police station and I thought that meant we would be safe.
"I really feel like the police have taken the mickey out of me.
"If the man had come back I don’t know what I would have done.
"If the police had come sooner they may have been able to catch him. All I have had from them is the suggestion of putting spades at the back of my store."
No-one from the police was available to comment as the Observer went to press