MASKED thugs armed with a gun and a knife are being hunted by police after holding up a city travel agents and escaping with cash.
Three raiders struck at Co-op Travel on Sandygate Road, Crosspool, while two women working in the shop were cashing up at the end of the day.
The women told police they saw what they thought was a gun and a knife being brandished by the robbers, who threatened them but did not mete out any violence.
Five police cars with sirens blaring and blue lights flashing raced to the scene after receiving a 999 call about the robbery. Half an hour later officers found the robbers’ getaway car engulfed in flames off Rivelin Valley Road.
The vehicle, a white Seat, had been stolen from Oughtibridge earlier in the day.
Detectives hunting the robbers want to hear from witnesses who saw the Seat driving to or from the travel agents, or from anyone who saw the offenders after they torched the getaway vehicle.
Police cordoned off the shop in the immediate aftermath of the raid at 5.15pm on Friday, and carried out a forensic examination of the scene.
House-to-house inquiries have been carried out in the hope local residents may have seen or heard something to help police trace those involved.
CCTV footage from the shop and surrounding area is also being examined.
Detective Inspector Chris Singleton, who is overseeing the investigation, said: “This was a harrowing experience for the two employees, to be confronted with what appeared to be a firearm. “Members of the public going about their everyday lives should not have to put up with this and we are extremely grateful there were no injuries.”
He confirmed: “Three masked men entered the shop and escaped with cash after brandishing what is thought to have been a firearm and a knife.
“They arrived and left in a white Seat car which had been stolen from Oughtibridge earlier in the day, and which was found burned-out on a side road off Rivelin Park Road 30 minutes later.
“Two members of staff were in the process of closing up, and were cashing up the day’s takings, when the offenders entered.
“Fortunately nobody was injured though threats were made.”
Witnesses or anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.