POLICE are hunting a knifeman who threatened a shop worker in a terrifying early-morning raid.
The incident happened at The Bungalow Shop, in Stratford Road, Hartlepool, when a man pulled up outside the shop on a motorbike and entered the store wearing his crash helmet and brandishing the blade.
He demanded cash and then cigarettes from the woman, who was working alone at the time, but fled empty-handed when the brave worker grabbed a telephone to call police.
The woman, in her 50s, was left badly shaken but otherwise unharmed by her ordeal.
The incident took place at 5.25am yesterday, shortly after the shop had opened.
Store owner Malcolm Jones, who has run the business for 14 years, said: “This was a terrifying ordeal for the woman, she was working on her own and you can imagine the fear when someone comes in with a knife.
“Luckily she wasn’t harmed, but was very shaken and the police took her home.
“The lad pulled up on a motorbike apparently and still had his crash helmet on when he came into the shop.
“She did the right thing by calling the police straight away, and he just fled at that point without taking anything.”
Police sealed off the area around the shop while a team of detectives carried out forensic tests.
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Police are appealing for information following a robbery at The Bungalow Shop in Stratford Road in Hartlepool on Monday morning at around 5.20am.
“A man dressed in orange style waterproof trousers and jacket, wearing a black helmet and dark coloured rucksack entered the shop, before threatening the staff member and leaving empty handed.
“He then left on a small black motorbike, which was parked outside the shop. No-one was hurt during the incident but staff were left shaken.
“Police are conducting enquiries in the local area to try and establish who this man is.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Cleveland Police in the non-emergency number 101.