Robbers armed with a hammer and knives are being hunted by police after a spate of terrifying supermarket raids in Sheffield.
Detectives are linking five raids which have taken place in the city in the last month, with two men believed to be responsible.
They claim the robbers are ‘creating unrest’ with businesses fearing they could be targeted next.
Extra police patrols are under way and officers have been visiting other stores to warn staff and urge them to report suspicious activity.
In the most recent raid, at Spar, Ringinglow Road, Bents Green, on Monday night, robbers stole about £300 in cash and a bottle of whiskey.
Police said the culprits were ‘aggressive’ and ‘threatened staff’.
In the first of the linked raids, two men armed with a hammer escaped with about £1,000 after targeting Sainsbury’s supermarket, Bradway Road, Bradway, on Thursday, January 8.
On Tuesday, January 27, two men carrying a knife stole £200 from Spar, Ecclesall Road South, Ecclesall.
The following night, the pair targeted Sainsbury’s at Bradway again, escaping with £200 after threatening staff.
And last Saturday, two men with a knife escaped with £525 after threatening staff at the Co-op on Derbyshire Lane, Norton Lees.
Detective Inspector Richard Partridge, who is leading the police probe, said: “We have a number of detectives solely dedicated to investigating these crimes which we believe are all linked and we are following up a number of leads.
“We are determined to apprehend the two men who are responsible for creating unrest.
“My concern is anyone prepared to walk into a shop and threaten people with weapons may well injure people and I don’t want that to happen.
“Fortunately, there have been no injuries during any of the incidents. However, those involved are extremely shaken, distressed and frightened and we are not prepared to accept this.
“We need to identify and catch these people as soon as possible.
“We believe the suspects are local to the areas where the offences have been committed, and someone within the community will know something.”
Matthew Hutchinson, manager of Spar on Ringinglow Road, said: “It is disgusting what they are doing – we come to work to earn a living and these people think they can just come in, threaten us and take our money as though they are entitled to it.
“My first concern when I heard about the robbery was the welfare of staff.
“If it is a small independent store which gets targeted next and they put up a fight to protect their takings anything could happen. It is only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt.
“It is worrying they are still out there.”
David Laley, manager of the Co-op on Derbyshire Lane, said: “The staff caught up in this were shocked and surprised, but did the right thing and did not put themselves at risk.
“These raids seem to be rife at the moment and it is frustrating because those involved seem to be getting more and more arrogant.
The men are both white and CCTV shows them wearing hoodies with ski masks over their faces.
* Anyone with information is asked to call South Yorkshire Police on 101.
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