DETECTIVES are appealing for information about a terrifying armed robbery in which four men raided a rural store.

Officers were called to the Spar in Wolsingham, County Durham, just before 8pm on New Year’s Day following reports of a robbery.

Four men, three of whom were carrying weapons - a knife, an axe and a baseball bat - entered the shop in Market Place and removed money from the tills. It is believed they then fled the scene in a silver car.

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Two members of staff, a 21-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman, along with three customers who were in the store at the time were uninjured but said to be shaken by the incident.

Det Sgt Darren Phillips, of Crook CID, said: “Fortunately no-one was injured during the robbery, however this was an extremely distressing incident for the staff and customers who were in the store at the time, and it has left them very shaken.

“The suspects were wearing balaclavas and are believed to be aged in their late teens.

“We believe they fled the scene in a silver car, which headed from Wolsingham in the Tow Law direction.”

Durham County Councillor for Weardale, John Shuttleworth, said people were shocked to learn of such a terrifying crime at a village shop.

Coun Shuttlworth said: “It is quite concerning to hear of something like this happening in the Dale.

“We don’t want and won’t have people doing this, if need be more police will have to be on the beat.

“These people have to be hounded out and put in prison.

“I think people need to be vigilant, in the current economic times and with the turn of the year there are some desperate people who will do bad things.”

Det Sgt Phillips urged anyone who witnesses something that could assist police with their enquiries to contact Durham police on 101, and ask for Crook CID, or to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.