Thugs armed with a hammer and a knife threatened staff during an armed robbery at a Co-op store.

Three men on mopeds parked behind the Co-op store, in Spa Road, Witham, just after 9.35pm yesterday evening.

Two of them, one armed with a hammer and the other with a knife, went into the shop and demanded money from staff.

The men grabbed money and the drawers from the tills before leaving the shop and making a getaway on the mopeds.

It is believed these would have been difficult to carry on mopeds and so police believe the public may have witnessed the getaway.

The men are described as wearing black jogging bottoms, black hooded tops, black motorcycle helmets, and red gloves.

Detective Sergeant Mick Carrington, from Braintree CID, said: “This was a terrifying incident for the two members of staff involved and it’s really important we find those responsible.

“While they weren’t injured they have been left really shaken up.

“This was a cowardly act by the men involved who had little regard for the members of staff involved and their actions or totally unacceptable.

“If you have any information I need you to come forward and contact my team.”

A spokesperson for the East of England Co-op, said: “I can confirm that an armed robbery took place at our store on Spa Road, Witham yesterday evening.

“We are supporting our colleagues involved in this distressing incident and would urge anyone with any information to contact Essex police or call Crimestoppers anonymously.”

If you saw or heard anything, have CCTV, were driving in the area and have dash cam footage, or have any other information please call us on 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/133162/18.

You can also call Crimestoppers 100 percent anonymously on 0800 555 111.