TWO balaclava-clad men raided a Rawtenstall bookmakers and threatened a female shop assistant.

Thieves entered Ladbrokes on Bank Street around 9.20pm on Friday, an hour before it was due to close.

One ran to the back of the shop and jumped over the counter before threatening the cashier and demanding money.

A second man stood by the entrance to the shop.

The first man pushed the female shop assistant into the office at the back of the shop, but after discovering there was no money there, he then went back behind the counter and took money from the cash drawer, before jumping back over the counter and running from the store with the second man.

A customer chased the men but they ran along Mill Gate Road and got into a vehicle, believed to be a silver Toyota Avensis which then drove off towards Marl Pits.

DS Mick Cross of Pennine CID said; “I would appeal to anyone who witnessed the robbery that has not yet spoken to police to come forward and contact us.

“Similarly, if anyone saw any suspicious activity in the area either on the day or in the days or weeks leading up to the incident then we would be very keen to speak to you.

“Fortunately, nobody was hurt although the assistant has been left shocked following what can only be described as a terrifying ordeal so if anyone does have any information I would urge them to contact the police.”

A man aged 26 has been arrested in connection with the incident and released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.