Daughter left terrified after Queensferry store is targeted yet again


Amy Sargeson

JUST hours after a raider who viciously attacked a shop owner was jailed, his store was targeted again – leaving his 11-year-old daughter “terrified”.

In December last year, Costcutter’s Queensferry store owner Imtiaz ul Haq was beaten and stabbed in the neck in a “frenzied” attack at the store.

The Leader reported the attacker Matthew Whelan, high on drink and drugs at the time of the incident, admitted robbery and attempted murder and on Thursday was jailed for 20 years.

Just hours after his sentence, which Mr Haq and his family were pleased to hear, they received calls regarding an attempted break in at the store.

The shutters protecting the back door of the building, which leads to the stock room, had been ripped off and the door had been damaged.

The intruders unwittingly triggered an alarm which automatically contacts the police and informs Mr Haq of an unwelcome presence in the store.

The 59-year-old said: “They left because they heard the alarm.

“Normally when I get a call about the alarm, I see if the second one has been triggered which is inside to see if someone has got in the shop – but it was just the first.

“The police called me at 3.14am to say there had been a break-in and I had only been asleep a few hours. This is now the fifth or sixth time since January last year.”

Jenni Hughes lives close by to the store and was shocked to hear a loud bang in the middle of the night.

She said: “It sounded like an explosion. I didn’t know if it was a car crash or an explosion it was terrible and just so loud.

“I jumped out of bed but I couldn’t work out where it was coming from.”

Insp Andy Griffiths, of North Wales Police, said: “We’re aware of the attempted break-in and enquiries are ongoing. Mr Haq has been visited by the Community Safety Team and advised regarding security at the store.

“We do not believe the store was targeted as a result of yesterday’s sentencing.” 

Mr Haq also said the Coscutter branch was targeted again last week when thieves stole cooling units from four new fridges which had been bought to replace fridges inside the shop.

He added: “They’re worth £10,000.

“One fridge has been ruined and we have three left but they have taken the cooling units.

“I’m just shocked more than anything that this has happened.”

The father-of-one has run the store for four years and it attracts about 400 shoppers each day. 

He told the Leader on Thursday, following the jailing of Whelan, that despite attracting 400 shoppers a day, there has been a financial impact on top of the serious injuries he suffered in the attack.

Mrs Haq said: “We have an 11-year-old daughter and she is so terrified. Every morning she tells me to ‘take care of Daddy’ and not to leave him alone in the shop.

“She was waiting for this court date and she said ‘are you sure he’s  going to be in prison?

“She was so scared when the phone rang on Friday morning. I was awake with her and Imtiaz did not come back until 4.30am. She had to go to school a few hours later but she didn’t sleep all night.

“When he had been stabbed the whole street was cordoned off and she saw her father covered in blood.

“It’s really affecting us. I’m so glad he is in prison but still the other people are still out there. You just feel that anything can happen at any time.

“Nobody deserves this.”

The part owner of the store said despite what has happened she is so thankful for everyone who has supported the family.

She added: “It’s tremendous. We have such fabulous support from the community it is really heart warming. We’re back here in the shop just because of the support.

“That’s what kept us going. If there’s a few bad people there’s so many good people. We have fantastic neighbours who are very supportive and Imtiaz is very courageous and such a strong-willed person to come back.”

If anyone has any information, or has seen anyone acting suspiciously relating to the incident on Friday morning, they are asked to call North Wales Police on 111 quoting the reference number VO88312.

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