ARMED robbers wearing balaclavas threatened two security guards with a machete before making off with a 'substantial' amount of cash in an early morning raid.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the armed robbery, which took place at 6.30am this morning (Friday, February 7) at Sainsbury’s on Crescent Road, in Middlesbrough.

The Northern Echo:

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Two Loomis security guards were filling up the cash machine at the store when one of them was approached by two men wearing balaclavas as he was retrieving the cash box from the van. One of the men was brandishing a large machete-type weapon and a scuffle ensued.

They then frog-marched him over to his colleague inside the store and threatened them into handing over a substantial amount of cash.

A dark car with a driver inside was waiting for them outside of the shop and they made off down Crescent Road towards Union Street. Police have recovered a grey Vauxhall Astra in Meath Street, in Middlesbrough, a short distance away from the scene and are carrying out forensic tests.

Police are carrying out extra patrols in the area and following up house-to-house enquiries in the area.

Anyone who was in the area who saw anything suspicious or knows anything about the robbery is asked to contact Cleveland Police on the non-emergency number 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.

A Sainsbury's spokesman said: Sainsbury’s spokesperson: “We can confirm that there was a robbery at our Crescent Road Local store this morning.

"No one was harmed and we are working with the police on their investigations.”