THREE masked robbers armed with crowbars raided a Rotherham newsagents, hit a customer, and escaped with cash and cigarettes.
The culprits, believed to be in their late teens, struck at Treeton News on Front Street, Treeton, at around 6am yesterday - shortly after the shop opened.
They burst into the store armed with crowbars while owner Jackie McMahon was behind the counter sorting out newspapers for deliveries.
One of the robbers ordered the shocked shopkeeper to unlock the safe
while another started pulling cigarettes off the shelves as the third tried to force open the National Lottery cash drawer.
One of the robbers then took cash from the till.
A customer on his way into the shop as the three robbers were fleeing was struck over the head when he challenged them.
He was left with an inch long gash which needed stitches.
The fleeing robbers dropped some cash and cigarettes outside the shop as they left the scene.
Mrs McMahon, who took over the shop 14 months ago, said she complied with the robbers' demands to avoid being hurt.
She said: "I heard the bell sounding on the door as they came in and saw a man walking towards me with his face covered and carrying a crowbar. He came behind the counter and asked me to open the safe and asked where the money was.
"I told him there was only the float and while this was happening one of the men was grabbing the cigarettes and another was trying to get into the Lottery drawer.
"I was calm while it was happening and just inched away from them and stood in the corner because what was I going to do against three of them especially when they were armed? I even opened the till for one of them to avoid getting hurt and to stop him damaging it.
"Treeton is such a protective little place, everyone has been really concerned and shocked.
The shop, which has CCTV cameras installed, was cordoned off yesterday morning while scenes of crime officers examined the premises.
Anyone with information should call Rotherham CID on 0114 2202020.
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