A BRAVE shopkeeper has told how he tackled a blade-carrying robber and ripped the thug's hood from his head to unmask his identity on a security camera.

Abdul Ghanai wrestled with James Houston — who was armed with a menacing push dagger weapon — behind the counter of the Usave store on Roxburgh Street in Greenock.

Houston, 37 — a regular customer — managed to grab £80 from Mr Ghanai's till before fleeing with another man.

But police instantly knew he was the culprit thanks to the shopkeeper exposing his face on CCTV footage of the incident.
Mr Ghanai told the Telegraph: "He was a customer who came into the shop maybe three times every couple of weeks and he just suddenly came at me.
"I was shocked.

"He took me by surprise and pushed me and I went backwards, the till was open and he just grabbed the money.

"When he was moving away I grabbed his hood and pulled it down and then he ran away.

"I was thinking that, because there are cameras all around the shop, if I got his hood off at least one of the cameras would show his face.

"Afterwards I was a bit shaken up.
"The police saw straight away that it was him."

Officers caught up with Houston two days after the robbery in February and found the push dagger — which resembles a knuckleduster with a three-centimetre long blade — tucked into the waistband of his jeans.

The multiple offender said at the time: "I was stupid, I'm sorry again."Greenock Sheriff Court heard how Houston carried out the robbery after dark on February 2.
Prosecutor Claire Rowan said: "Two males, one being the accused, entered the locus and the accused was wearing a hooded top with its hood up.
"He has then approached the counter where the witness was serving.
"The accused stepped forward behind the counter and stated whilst swearing, 'Give me the money'.
"A struggle has then taken place between the two and the accused removes cash from the till.
"The witness managed to pull the accused's hood down and see his face.
"There are CCTV cameras in the premises and from that the accused was seen to have a small dark arrow-shaped weapon clenched in his right fist."
Houston was jailed for 40 months in 2018 for trying to stab a man during a violent robbery after sneaking into his flat on Kelly Street.
Defence lawyer David McCaig said that his client 'accepted' that he would receive another prison sentence.
Mr McCaig asked Sheriff Joseph Hughes to have regard to 'unprecedented remand conditions' as a result of Covid-19, adding: "Mr Houston has had to endure being locked up for 23-and-a-half hours per day, with no visits, as well as fear of the virus itself since February 5."
The court was also told that Houston has three children for whom he 'wants to become a worthwhile father to' on his release.
Mr McCaig said: "He has expressed a clear intent to take advantage of whatever courses are available to him."
Houston's co-accused John McIntyre, 37, had his not guilty plea to a charge of being involved in the robbery accepted by the Crown.
Sheriff Hughes told Houston: "You are certainly no stranger to being in prison.
"Your last disposal was a 40-month sentence for assault and robbery with a knife."
The sheriff Hughes deferred sentence for a background report as to Houston's suitability to be placed on a supervised release order at the end of the custodial term that will be imposed on him.
The case is to call again on September 30.