Bedfordshire Police are appealing for witnesses after a number of shops in Luton were robbed in similar circumstances.
At around 7am on Tuesday, November 26, Putteridge News, in Putteridge Road, Luton was targeted by three men.
They entered the store, assaulted the shop assistant and stole cash and cigarettes. The offenders were wearing face coverings and gloves.
Later that day, at around 7pm, three men carrying what were believed to be knives entered the Nisa store, in Dunstable Road, Toddington.
Staff were forced to hand over money from the till, which was also taken.
One woman sustained an injury to her elbow when she fell to the floor during the incident.
The offenders are described as three large men with their faces covered.
One was wearing a grey hooded top, with the other two wearing black hooded tops. One was around six foot tall, in his early 20s, well built and with a local accent. One was wearing distinctive black tracksuit bottoms with “Nike Air” in white down the right leg.
No weapons were seen during the raid, and the offenders made off from the scene.
At 6.30am the following day (Wednesday, November 27), three men with local accents, dressed in dark clothing, wearing gloves and face coverings, targeted a member of staff as he opened up a newsagents on Bradgers Hill Road, Luton.
The men pushed the victim down to the ground and threatened to hit him, but he was not injured. The offenders stole cash from the till, as well as the victim’s wallet and vehicle.
Detective Inspector Tom Hamm said: “We do believe these offences are linked. The offenders have used violence and threats with weapons to overpower shop workers to steal cash and other items.
“These incidents have terrified the victims. We do not tolerate any level of violence, and are doing all we can to identify these men swiftly before their offending escalates.
“Any information at all could prove vital to our investigation, so please contact us and continue to report any suspicious behaviour.
“Until these men are apprehended, we would advise shop owners and staff to be vigilant; to take extra care with their personal safety, especially when opening or closing premises, and we would recommend that no one attempts to tackle these offenders.”
Please contact Detective Sergeant Ian Holden with any information by calling 101, or report information online on the Bedfordshire Police website.
> Alternatively, you can report anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the Crimestoppers website.