A SHOP assistant was duped into leaving the counter unguarded by two sneak thieves who then escaped with cash from the shop safe.

The theft happened in Nevins on Church Road, Rainford at about 7pm on Thursday, April 16 when the pair walked into the shop posing as customers. One of them asked the female shop assistant to help him find a brand of biscuits and she left the counter to show him. He then kept her distracted for a few minutes until she became suspicious and went back to the till.

He then joined his companion who was waiting outside and when the woman checked the safe in a store room at the back of the shop, a large amount of money had been stolen.

The man who spoke to the assistant was white, about 5ft 4ins tall and aged 17 or 18. He had slightly curly, sandy-coloured hair and was clean shaven with blue jeans and a dark jumper.

The other man was also white, taller at about 6ft tall and 18 or 19 years old. He was well-built with dark hair and wore a black top.

If you were in the area at the time and have some information about the theft, you can contact DC Mike Bowes at St Helens Police on 0151 777 6064 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.