A man armed with an axe attacked a Norwich shop yesterday afternoon.

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Witnesses described how the man in his 50s wielded the weapon at the Magdalen Street shop shortly before 4pm.

As staff at Secondhand Land sheltered inside, the screaming man smashed the glass of the shopfront in a dozen places.

Darren Rider, 36, who works in the shop, said: “He started smashing cabinets and then went outside. My boss tried to use a guitar to stop him swinging the axe. The axe hit the guitar and then grazed his leg. The bloke went outside. I was on the phone to the police and he was screaming at us.”

Goblin Demirci, who runs Cafe Corner opposite the shop, sheltered in her Turkish restaurant with her son and daughter, aged five and seven, while watching the attack.

The 30-year-old said: “It was really scary. Our kids were crying. I was looking to make sure he didn’t come to my shop.

“I was worried in case somebody got injured.”

Waitress Emi Bytyci said: “I was serving food and I just heard screaming. I looked out and saw the axe. He was smashing the window.”

The 23-year-old called the police and witnesses said the man dropped the weapon when officers arrived and was arrested.

The East of England Ambulance Service was called after 4pm and a spokesman said a 65-year-old man had suffered a minor injury to his thigh and was treated at the shop. The inside of Secondhand Land was littered with broken glass as staff began clearing up the damage. By 5pm the windows were being boarded up.

Mehmet Alagoz, 27, who works in a newsagent opposite Secondhand Land and shut his shop as soon as the attack began, said: “I thought – this is crazy. All the time it is relaxed here. We have had no problems.” Norfolk Constabulary said they were called to the shop at 3.50pm to reports of a man causing criminal damage.

A police spokesman said: “A man in his 50s has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and possession of an offensive weapon, following an incident in Magdalen Street at about 3.50pm.

“The man, from the local area, has been taken to Wymondham PIC for questioning.

“Inquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

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