A TEENAGE shopkeeper has told how he fought off an axe-wielding attacker who had stolen alcohol from his store in Haddington.

Areeb Choudry was working behind the counter of his father’s small shop when a woman walked in and grabbed two cans of alcohol before running out into the street at the town’s Kirk View.

Areeb and a colleague chased after the thief Natalie Carmichael, 42, but were left shocked when she turned and confronted them before pulling out “a very large axe” from a bag she was carrying.

Carmichael then swung the axe at the pair, forcing the 18-year-old assistant manager to duck out of the way before he managed to grab hold of the weapon during the struggle in February.

READ MOREWoman admits trying to strike shopkeeper with an axe

Areeb disarmed the drunken attacker and, after a shocked neighbour witnessed the incident outside the Nungate Minimarket shop, the police were alerted.

Speaking about the incident, Areeb, from Edinburgh, said: “We have had trouble with her before and this was the second time she had come into the shop that particular day.

“The first time I refused to serve her alcohol because she was very drunk and it is against the law, so she was pretty angry about that.

“She came back in just as we were closing at 8pm and took some cans from the shelf before running out into the street.

“I know it was pretty stupid thing to do but me and another worker ran out after her, but it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to go after her.

“We didn’t know she had a weapon on her but, as soon as she saw we had come outside, she stopped and turned round to confront us.

"That’s when she pulled out a very large axe from a bag.

“I didn’t really have time to react before she swung the axe at us and I had to duck out of the way to avoid being hit.

“I then grabbed the axe and managed to get it off her after a short struggle.

“Looking back, it was quite terrifying and all I could think about was my family and how my parents would have reacted if something bad had happened to me.

“My dad told me I was daft for going after her, as it was only a couple of cans of alcohol, but I didn’t really think things would escalate as they did.”

East Lothian Courier: Areeb Choudry at Nungate Minimarket

The brave teenager said he was “very relieved” when the police arrived on the scene soon after a neighbour had called them in after hearing the disturbance.

He added: “She had run off by the time the police got here but they found her really quickly hiding nearby and I have to say the officers were great with us.”

Carmichael pleaded guilty to charges of possessing an axe, assault, shoplifting and behaving in a threatening manner when she appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on April 22.

She returned to court late last month, when Sheriff Peter McCormack deferred sentence for social work reports to later this month.