THE owner of a town centre convenience store has relived the terrifying moment a thief ripped the till from the wall of his shop, making off with around £1,000.

The brazen crook went into the Island Supermarket, in Furtherwick Road, Canvey at around 6:30pm last Wednesday, posing as a customer, before threatening and hitting the owner away as he tried to open the cash register.

Frustrated with being unable to unlock it, the raider then tore the till from the wall, ripping apart the heavy cabling, before riding off with the machine on a bicycle.

Owner Vajsi Borkhatriya, 43, said: “I tried to press my panic button but he kept hitting me stopping me from doing anything. I felt really threatened, it was really scary, he could’ve done anything.

“Then he lifted the till and yanked it from the wall, snapping all the heavy cables, before running out the door. It all happened so quickly, it must’ve been over in about 10 seconds.

“A lot of businesses have been targeted on Canvey and we’d obviously heard about the robberies and read about them in the Echo, so we were really on edge wondering whether it was going to happen to us.”

Businesses and residents on the island have been rocked by a spate of 14 armed robberies last year which, at its height, saw eight robberies in eight weeks.

Police are dealing with the incident as a theft not a robbery.

However, the 1968 Theft Act states “A person is guilty of robbery if he steals, and immediately before or at the time of doing so, and in order to do so, he uses force on any person or puts or seeks to put any person in fear of being then and there subjected to force.”

The suspect is described as wearing a navy blue woollen hat, brown trousers, black trainers or boots, a blue hooded jumper and had a blue and grey scarf covering his face.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: “Police are investigating the theft of a cash register from the convenience store in Furtherwick Road, Canvey which happened at about 6:30pm on Wednesday.

“The cash register was taken by a man after his demands for money were not met. The till contained cash and vouchers. Extensive inquiries are continuing to establish who may be responsible.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on Canvey on 101 or Crime-stoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.