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Four robbers armed with axes, crowbars and knives subjected shop workers to a "terrifying ordeal" after tying them up as they robbed a Stretton supermarket.

Staffordshire Police are appealing for witnesses after the Co-op store, in Main Street, was targeted just after 6am this morning, Thursday, February 22.

The robbers they tied up four members of staff using cable tie and stole a number of items from the store including scratch cards and cash.

Colleagues from West Midlands Ambulance Service attended the scene but there were no serious injuries.

The robbery took place at the Co-op store in Main Street, Stretton
The robbery took place at the Co-op store in Main Street, Stretton

DS Adam Yates, of Staffordshire Police, said: "This was a terrifying ordeal for the staff and we would urge any witnesses to come forward and speak to us.

"We are continuing our investigation at the scene and the store will remain closed for the rest of the day.

"If you have any information that could assist with our enquiries please call us on 101 quoting incident 90 of 22 February."

Police looking for fifth person

The Co-op store in Main Street, Stretton
The Co-op store in Main Street, Stretton

Staffordshire police have confirmed they are looking for a fifth person in connection with the robbery.
It comes as four masked robbers entered the store brandishing axes, crowbars and knives.
A spokesman for the force said it is believed the fifth person did not go into the store, and instead stayed inside a dark-coloured vehicle outside the shop.
It is then believed all five people escaped in the car.

The Co-op is now open

It has been confirmed that the Co-operative has now reopened nine hours after staff were tied up by robbers brandishing axes, crowbars and knives.
Staff were shaken but uninjured and the thieves escaped with cash and scratchcards.

Everything we know so far

Here is everything we know so far following the robbery in Stretton.

Co-op in Moira targeted twice in less than two weeks

Co-op in Moira has been broken into for the second time
Co-op in Moira has been broken into for the second time

The robbery comes just two days after thieves struck at the Co-operative, in Shortheath Road, Moira, twice in less than two weeks.

On both occasions a large quantity of cigarettes was stolen.

The window of the store, which was once the site of the village’s fire station, was smashed as thieves forced their way in. The latest burglary took place sometime between 1.30am and 2.10am on Tuesday, February 20.

The first raid took place between 1.30am and 2.25am on Friday, February 9, when burglars broke into the Co-op, forced open the kiosk shutters and stole a large quantity of cigarettes.

No members of staff were present at the time.

A spokesman for the Co-op said at the time: “We are implementing several measures to deter both criminal activity and aid convictions. The police are investigating, and we appeal for anyone with information to come forward.”

Not the only time a Co-op has been targeted in the area

The Stretton incident is not the first robbery of a Co-op store in the area.

On August 19, last year, Tremayne McKoy robbed a woman of £490 in cash at the Co-operative store, in Main Street, Rosliston.

He threatened one of staff with a knife before escaping with the cash.

Shop likely to reopen later today

The Co-op remains closed following the robbery but is likely to reopen later on today.

Stretton councillor - "It's an absolute disgrace"

Councillor Len Milner
Councillor Len Milner

Councillor Len Milner, who represents Stretton on East Staffordshire Borough Council, said: “It is an absolute disgrace. I feel extremely sorry and concerned for the people involved who were tied up. This is getting quite prevalent across the country and it is concerning.
“I didn’t know about until I read about it as I was in bed at the time but the police tape is still there so no one can get in.
“The level of violence used is very frightening. I am surprised this happened as Stretton is normally quiet and it is rare that we get something as bad as this.
“I am worried about what could happen in the future. I know that the Co-op’s CCTV is quite substantive.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service said one woman was suffering from shock

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said that crews were called to the scene at 6.09am.

They said: “We were called to the scene at 6.09am with reports that there was a woman suffering the effects of shock.

“One ambulance was sent to the scene and paramedics assessed the woman who was suffering shock, she was then discharged at the site.”

Staff left "unharmed but shaken", Central England Co-operative has said

The team at the Co-op were left shaken but unharmed by the robbery.

A spokesman from Central England Co-operative said: “We can confirm that an armed robbery took place at our Stretton food store this morning.

“The members of staff on duty are unharmed, but they are obviously shaken by the incident and our primary concern is their safety and wellbeing.

“We are giving our full support to the police while they investigate this matter.”

More video coming in from the Stretton Co-op

Man who lives on premises tells of shock at robbery where he believes cash and cigarettes were stolen

Muhammad Ali, owner of the post office opposite the Co-op, said: “I live on the premises here but did not hear any alarms. I started opening up at 6.30am and that is when I saw a police car and the car park was being cordoned off.

“They were just about to open at that time. I heard they forced the staff into a room and took cigarettes and cash.

“It hasn’t happened in the post office before. It is very scary.”

More pictures from the scene...

The Co-op remains closed
The Co-op remains closed

Owner of hairdressers nearby called the robbery "horrendous"

Glyn Battenbo owner of Glyn and Company Hairdressers next to Peter’s Pets said: “It is not the first time it has happened to that shop but not to that extent before.

“We heard about it when we saw the police this morning.

“It is horrendous what has happened.”

Tweet from Staffordshire Police

Pet shop owner who works nearby calls the robbery "scary"

Peter Eves, owner of neighbouring shop Peter’s Pets said: “We parked at the back of our shop near the Co-op car park and I saw the police tape. I knew something bad must have happened but didn’t know it was a robbery.

“It happens. My daughter had a knife pulled to her throat in this shop about 30 years ago.

“It is scary what has happened. What can you do? You can’t do anything to stop it.”

Video at the scene

One of our reporters is at the scene

The store is currently closed in Stretton
The store is currently closed in Stretton

The store is currently closed - police still on the scene

The shop is cordoned off and officers are still on the scene. Forensics teams have just left the premises.