POLICE are appealing for information following an armed robbery at the Co-Op in Whitworth yesterday.
The robbery took place around 1 p.m. when two security guards were attacked by three masked men wielding sledgehammers while they were replenishing the ATM machine.
One guard was hit over the head and his cash cassette stolen before his colleague was forced to hand over an additional cash cassette from inside the van.
Fortunately both security guards were wearing helmets and did not suffer any serious injuries although both were treated for shock at Fairfield Hospital.
There were also a number of staff and customers in the shop at the time of the robbery but nobody was injured.
The offenders left the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash in a black Renault Megane, registration SA09 TXB, which was found abandoned nearby in Daniel Street.
Witnesses then describe the men as leaving in a black BMW three series which turned left towards Bacup.
Insp. Paul Broxson, from Burnley CID, said: “This is a particularly nasty offence in which unnecessary violence was used by the offenders. I would appeal to anybody with any information that could assist us with our investigation to come forward.
“In particular we are appealing for information about the black Renault Megane used during the robbery. We know the car was stolen from Salford on June 17th and believe it was then driven in and around the Bacup area. If you have seen this car in the past few weeks we would be keen to speak with you.
“I would also appeal to people who may have observed any suspicious activity in and around the Co-Op either at the time of the offence, in the days or weeks leading up to the incident or indeed immediately afterwards. A full investigation is underway and CCTV evidence is currently being examined.”
The men were all wearing black and grey tracksuits, balaclavas and gloves.
Anyone with any information should contact Lancashire Police on 08451 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Police would also encourage any residents with private CCTV in the area to come forward.