Robbers armed with a crowbar and knife have struck at a Longridge store.
Police, who took half an hour to get to the scene due to poor weather conditions, are now appealing for any witnesses to the raid at the Mardale Road Spar last Wednesday night.
Det Sgt Adrian McHugh of Blackburn CID said four men dressed in balaclavas and dark clothing, armed with the weapons, had entered the shop just before 9pm when two customers were inside.
A female member of staff had been pushed and told to go behind a counter and the customers told to lie on the floor.
Two of the men demanded money and cigarettes while the other two went into a back room and took the hard drive of the shop’s CCTV.
All four men then made off with cash, cigarettes and were also believed to have taken some scratch cards.
“They all made off immediately afterwards in a small hatchback vehicle we think is black from CCTV we got from elsewhere,” said Det Sgt McHugh, adding: “Nobody was hurt, but all were very shaken.”
Det Sgt McHugh said they were currently studying CCTV from elsewhere in the town and believe the vehicle made off in the direction of Preston Road.
If anyone witnessed anything on the night or anything they believe to have been suspicious at any other time, they are asked to contact 101 quoting reference number EG1708157.
Ironically, new Ribble Valley Inspector Andy Winter had been attending a meeting of Longridge Town Council with another senior police officer to answer criticism of police coverage in the town just before the time of the raid last Wednesday.
He confirmed police received a call at 9.05pm and arrived at 9.35pm.
He said: “There were officers on duty in Longridge, however, due to a serious incident they were dealing with, they were unable to attend.
Officers both from Clitheroe and from Blackburn areas made over to the scene.
“However, due to the prevailing terrible weather conditions there was a delay of half-an-hour before they arrived.”
A spokesperson for Spar said as there is an on-going police investigation they were unable to comment.