POLICE are investigating if a spate of terrifying armed robberies in Ellesmere Port are linked.

In recent weeks, five premises in the town have been targeted by thieves wielding weapons and demanding cash from traumatised staff.

The latest incident happened on Friday night, when two balaclava-clad men wielding knives entered Bargain Booze on Gleneagles Road, Great Sutton.

Between 8.50 and 9.05pm, staff were subjected to 15 minutes of terror while  the men demanded they open the tills  to give them money.

As they left with ‘a quantity of cash’, one of the men stole a mountain bike  from outside the store.

Three days earlier, two stores  were raided in similar circumstances  in a four-hour period.

At 5.25pm on February 12, three men  wearing balaclavas forced their way  into a post office on Overpool Road,  pushing staff to the ground as they  tried to access the rear of the building.

They managed to steal cash from the  safe before running off.

At 9.20pm, a man,  again wearing a balaclava and wielding a hammer, burst into the Port  Wines store on Hope Farm Precinct, shouting demands for cash. The terrified shop worker fled in fear  as the man made off with the lower  half of the till.

Similarly, on January 29,  both McColl’s newsagents in Little Sutton and Wolverham Post Office were  targeted within three  hours.

This time the masked men were  carrying knives and large planks of  wood and made off with cash on both  occasions.

Detective Inspector Simon Lonsdale from Ellesmere Port CID said the community’s help in solving the incidents  was ‘vital’.

“We are currently attempting to establish whether the recent robberies  are linked,” he said. “We understand that these incidents  cause a great degree of panic and  concern for those directly involved  and would like to reassure the public  that we are doing all we can to bring  the offenders responsible to justice.

“Evidence from the local community is vital when piecing together information for crimes such as this.”

Call Cheshire police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.