Dubai: Five workers have been jailed for assaulting a grocery store vendor with a knife while they were stealing Dh11,000 worth of cash and products.

The incident occurred on a Friday morning in August 2016, when the Indian vendor opened the grocery store in Al Mezher.

Three Pakistani men walked into the grocery, purchased beverages and left, but then returned to the store after a while.

The defendants assaulted the vendor before they stole Dh6,500 in cash, du recharge cards and two mobile phones.

As the vendor tried to call for help, the assailants beat him and stabbed him in the hand.

The vendor called the police, which shortly arrested the three Pakistanis and their two countrymen.

Records showed that the culprits had previously committed a similar crime using the same modus operandi in Al Rashidiya.

The Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the five Pakistani defendants, aged between 28 and 35, of assaulting the victim with a knife and stealing money and items from the grocery.

Presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi referred a sixth Pakistani clerk, 31, to the Dubai Misdemeanours Court where he will be tried for possessing part of the stolen items.

According to the primary judgement, the defendants will be deported.

The accused pleaded not guilty, contending in court that law enforcement officers coerced them into confessing to a crime they did not commit.

One of the accused said: “We were apprehended for committing another heist in Al Rashidiya and were tried for that crime. They unfoundedly accused us of this heist as well but we did not commit it.”

A police sergeant testified that the vendor claimed that three Pakistani men walked into the store on a Friday morning and bought beverages.

“They left and returned after a while, assaulted and stabbed him with a knife. We identified the defendants who had been arrested for another crime using the same modus operandi. The victim identified the culprits in the police line-up. During questioning, the defendants said that three of them stormed into the shop, assaulted the vendor and stole cash and recharge cards, while one watched the place and the fifth waited in the runaway car,” said the sergeant.

The ruling remains subject to appeal.