A terrified shop assistant locked himself in a store cupboard after a crazed customer threatened him with a knife.

The thug calmly walked into the store brandishing a kitchen knife and when the shop assistant, a man aged 29, asked if he could help, the man began hurling abuse at him and threatened him with the weapon.

The thug then smashed items in the store and threw the cash register through the glass door, damaging the counter and various items of stock.

The shop assistant ran to the store room and locked himself inside, at which point the man followed him and tried to get inside.

After a few minutes, the man took a bottle of alcohol and 60 cigarettes and left the shop.

The shop assistant crept out of the cupboard and tried to phone the police, but then the man returned and continued his tirade of abuse and violence.

The ordeal lasted about five or six minutes, in which time he managed to cause £700 worth of damage. Eventually the man calmly walked out of the shop.

The incident happened at the Woodhall Off-Licence on Woodhall Road, Chelmsford, at 7pm on Easter Monday.

The shop assistant was badly shaken, but not injured.

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