A WOMAN was locked in an office after confronting a masked gang raiding a Wigan store.
The 51-year-old assistant was threatened with violence as she came across the intruders ransacking the Co-op in Woodhouse Lane, Springfield.
Police today appealed for information about the quartet, who fled with cash and cigarettes totalling thousands of pounds.
The gang appear to have forced their way into the store through a rear entrance, and were searching staff areas for valuables.
It was only because the victim went into the back of the building that they were discovered.
Ordering her to be quiet, they stole money belonging both to the Co-op and its staff, a mobile phone and also a large quantity of tobacco items.
After threatening her they locked the woman in a room and drove off in a silver Volkswagen Golf.
Her colleagues were unaware a raid had taken place until one of them went through to the back 15 minutes later, found her locked in the room and released her.
Detectives have appealed for witnesses and further information about the robbery which took place at 6.40pm on March 3.
Brief descriptions of each offender have also been issued. The first was wearing a black Berghaus jacket, black Nike trainers, black trousers and had a white scarf around his lower face.
The second wore grey, striped tracksuit bottoms, green jacket and black trainers while his face was obscured by both a scarf and hat. The third was clad in black jeans, black trainers, black jacket and wore a scarf and a black hat.
The fourth intruder wore black Cargo pants, black trainers, black glovers with silver padding on the fingers and he spoke with a Liverpool accent.
A police spokesman said: “This was a frightening ordeal for the lady caught up in the raid and we would like to hear from anyone with information leading to the offenders’ arrest and conviction.
“Perhaps they saw suspicious behaviour around the shop in the minutes leading up to the incident or saw the silver Golf making its getaway afterwards.”
The car has still not been located.
A spokeswoman for The Co-operative said: “On Thursday March 3, at around 6.40pm, a robbery took place at our store on Woodhouse Lane. Four masked men entered the store through the back door and threatened a member of staff.
“The men then stole a quantity of cash, cigarettes and handbags belonging to members of staff before making off from the store. Our member of staff was unhurt but badly shaken. No customers were involved.
“CCTV footage has been given to the police who are investigating. As with any incident such as this, we would appeal for anyone with information to come forward.”
Those with details should call police on 0161 856 5307 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.