THIEVES wielding crowbars threatened staff and robbed a supermarket near Burton stealing cash and cigarettes.
An eyewitness has relived the moment he saw three men escaping from the Co-op, in Main Street, Alrewas, in which they threatened staff with crowbars during a late night raid.
Now police have launched an appeal to track down the culprits who were wearing balaclavas and hooded tops.
Simon Chester, manager of the Alrewas Fryer, which is next door to the shop, said: “I was out the back putting rubbish away and I noticed a car was parked up. I thought it was unusual as I didn’t recognise it and just saw three men running out to the car and I thought something was going on.
“They were carrying some bags. I came back into the shop and someone was already inside telling my staff what had happened and the police had been called.”
Police were called to the shop at 9.30pm on Wednesday night. Three men entered the open store through the front doors. One offender was armed with two crowbars.
The men threatened two members of staff and demanded cash. They went on to steal an undisclosed quantity of cash from a back office and a large quantity of cigarettes from behind the shop counter.
Fortunately the two members of staff, a man and woman, were not injured but left shaken by the incident.
The robbers fled the store through the rear doors, out into the rear car park.
Seconds later a small white car drove off at speed, with the offenders believed to be inside the vehicle.
Mr Chester added: “I went round to the shop to make sure they were okay. The young girl was hysterical. They had pushed her out of the way. They were both really shook up.
“I think it is easier to target these places as it is quite a sleepy place and we don’t have a police station nearby.”
The main offender, who was armed with the crowbars, wore a blue hooded top with a white balaclava.
The other two also wore hooded tops with scarves/facial coverings.
An investigation into the incident is now underway.
Anyone with information on the incident, or who saw suspicious persons/vehicles in the Alrewas area that night, is asked to contact DC Graham Tomlinson at Staffordshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 689 of January 22, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.