Burnley takeaway staff attacked by baseball bat-wielding balaclava gang (From Burnley and Pendle Citizen)
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Burnley takeaway staff attacked by baseball bat-wielding balaclava gang
12:00pm Wednesday 30th October 2013 in Burnley
TWO takeaway staff feared for their lives when a gang of four masked men attacked them with baseball bats.
The thugs left Planet Pizza owner Safdar Arshad, 33, and worker Muhammad Ghazanfar, 44, bloodied on the floor of the Burnley shop after the brutal incident.
The men ran off when Mr Arshad’s father arrived. He said: “I thought they were going to die.”
Police have appealed for witnesses following the attack at the Croft Street takeaway, which had no customers, at 8pm on Monday.
It was the third violent attack in the town in three days, police revealed.
On Saturday, three men with crowbars posing as police burgled a house in Queen Victoria Road at 9.40pm, leaving a man with badly-bruised arms and legs.
And on Sunday, two men robbed an off-licence in Brennand Street at knifepoint, making off with cash and cigarettes totalling £550.
Mohammed Arshad, 64, said his son suffered a fractured arm in the incident at Pizza Planet.
Mr Ghazanfar needed 10 staples in the back of his head after being struck with what police described as ‘a long bladed weapon’.
Mr Arshad Snr, from Daneshouse, said: “It was like something out of a Hollywood movie. There was blood everywhere.
“My son said these men came from the car park through back door, all wearing balaclavas, very well-built like they go to the gym.
“They came inside and hit Muhammad on the head so he fell to the floor and then got my son in a head-lock.
“It was just sheer violence. They didn’t steal anything. I feel very lucky that nobody died. They were both bleeding so much.”
The two men were taken to Burnley General Hospital and discharged a few hours later.
The attackers are believed to have escaped through the front door of the shop to a waiting silver car which sped off the wrong way down the one-way system along Croft Street.
Mr Arshad Snr said it was ‘pure coincidence’ that he arrived to order a pizza for his family at the time of the attack.
He said: “It took the ambulance 20 minutes to arrive, even though the ambulance station is just on Trafalgar Street.
“I was very worried and so were the police. It is so lucky I arrived when I did.
“I can’t believe people would be so cowardly. I am just an old man so I don’t know why they ran away from me.
“I couldn’t believe it. It was disgusting, thuggish behaviour.”
Mr Arshad Snr said his son - a father-of-two - had owned the takeaway for 11 years and had never had any problems before.
Mr Ghazanfar, who moved from Pakistan to Brierfield in 2007, said: “I don’t know why anyone would target us.”
As well as a deep cut to his head, he suffered heavy bruising to his back.
Sgt Michael Cross from Burnley CID said: “Nothing was stolen during the incident and no threats made.
“Our enquires are continuing into the motive and I’d appeal to anybody that witnessed this incident or with any information that could assist with our investigation to come forward and contact Lancashire Police on 101.”
The North West Ambulance Service confirmed it was called to Planet Pizza at 8.09pm and arrived at the scene at 8.31pm.
A spokeswoman said: “This is well within our target response time for incidents where the patient is still conscious and their injuries are not life-threatening.”
During the Queen Victoria Road burglary on Saturday, the intruders kicked down the front door of a terraced house and hit their 44-year-old victim with a crowbar once they had got into his bedroom.
Sgt Roger Crew, from Burnley police, said: “This was a vicious attack. It would leave you feeling like you weren’t safe in your own home.”
He said one of the men stole a sum of cash and the trio made off in the direction of Salus Street and Wilton Street.
The Brennand Street off-licence incident, which happened at 9.30pm on Sunday, saw two men steal £350 from the till of the convenience store, as well as £200 of cigarettes.
The thieves, who covered their faces throughout, brandished a curved knife at the shop assistant.
Lancashire Police said they did not believe the attacks were linked.
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