Masked raiders threatened petrol station staff with a knife in a cash and cigarettes raid in a South Staffordshire village today.
Three men wearing balaclavas confronted workers who were opening up the he Co-op Texaco service station on the A449 in Penkridge at 5.30am.
The armed men forced staff into a back store room at knifepoint. The thieves stole a large quantity of cash and cigarettes before leaving.
Staff raised the alarm and Staffordshire Police carried out an immediate search in an attempt to locate the men along with Central Motorway Police.
Staff members were left shocked but uninjured.
Local police team commander, Insp Geoff Knight said: "Penkridge has always been a very safe area to live and work and I am sure the local residents will be appalled by this incident. We had a spate of this type of crime at the end of last summer across South Staffordshire and we carried out a very successful policing operation together with colleagues from the West Midlands which put an end to it.
“We will again be increasing our patrol activity including some tried and tested strategies to target these offenders and bring them to justice. Local Officers will be on patrol and local residents are urged to speak to the neighbourhood team if they have any concerns they wish to discuss."
Staffordshire Police is appealing for anyone with information. Contact 101 and ask for Sgt Nigel Braun from the South Staffs Neighbourhood Action Team or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.