A GANG of armed robbers escaped with cash after terrorising staff at a bookmakers.

Three men wearing balaclavas - one carrying a handgun and the others carrying crowbars - burst into Done Bookmakers, Lane Heads, Ryton, Gateshead.

They threatened staff and fled with the money. The staff were shocked, but unhurt.

The trio escaped in a Ford Orion car, registration K23 MNS, driven by a fourth man.

It was abandoned and set of fire about two miles away in Gingler Lane, a few minutes after the robbery.

Shortly afterwards, a large red vehicle was seen driving away from the area.

Detectives are appealing for witnesses to the robbery, which happened at 4.15pm, on Friday.

The robber carrying the handgun was described as 5ft 5in, 19 to 20, stocky, with a Tyneside accent. He wore a dark coloured shell-suit jacket, dark woollen balaclava with eye and mouth holes and had fair eyebrows.

The second raider was 5ft 7in, and of average build. He wore similar clothing to the first man, and carried a 3ft blue-coloured crowbar.

The third man was 5ft 8in, 19 to 20, thin, and wore similar clothing to the first man. He had dark eyes and eyebrows and also carried a 3ft blue crowbar.

Anyone with information is asked to contact call Gateshead West CID on 0191-454 7555.