Staff at an off licence were left terrified when an armed robber demanded cash.
The robber went into Booze Buster in Peterlee's York Road at around 9.30pm on Monday evening.
He threatened the two female assistants with the machete and demanded cash, he then made off in the direction of Cambridge Road.
The man is described as wearing a cream and grey snowboarding hat with fur and flaps covering the ears.
He was also wearing grey jogging bottoms and an electric blue jacket and ski or snowboarding goggles. He spoke with a local accent.
Det Con Brian Carter from Peterlee CID, said, “The two assistants on duty during the raid have quite understandably been left shocked and distressed following this incident.
"With this in mind I would ask anyone in the area at the time mentioned to think carefully about whether or not they saw the man described. Any information you have may be key, and I would urge you to contact police urgently if you can help."
Police can be contacted on 101.
A Peterlee man, aged 32, was arrested last night in the hours following the armed robbery and continues to be interviewed by detectives.