A shopper has told of his terror as masked raiders launched a terrifying attack on a borough mini-market.
Four thugs in balaclavas wielding crowbars both to threaten staff and customers and also smash up a cigarette kiosk and displays after the late night raid on Leigh Asda.
It was just minutes before closing time on Saturday night that the gang struck at the Windermere Road premises.
A customer, who did not wish to be identified, said: “I first thought it was just a shoplifter being tackled by security. But I went to the till and saw two guys ransacking a cigarette kiosk, frantically trying to get as much tobacco as they could.
“There was a lot of shouting and panic. It was carnage with broken spirit bottles from an end-aisle display scattered all over the show. I also noticed a large piece of masonary on the floor nearby.
“I dropped my items and headed for the door, but as I got there I was confronted by two other hooded men in ski masksand grey clothing brandishing crowbars.
"They turned to me, raised their weapons and told me not to move and then set about using the weapons on the stand that the security guard was standing behind. I turned and briskly made my way to the warehouse area. The gang eventually disappeared and I think the staff got a description of the vehicle.
"Everyone was shaken of course but no obvious signs of physical injury. It was very frightening.”
The robbery bears certain similarities to another raid, just before closing time, carried out by two masked men on the Asda store at Atherton on the evening of Sunday November 19.
Police would not be drawn on links between the raids today, confirming there had been a Leigh Asda robbery at 9.50pm on Saturday, that a lot of damage was caused but, thankfully, no-one had been injured.
All four men were said to be of medium build wearing black gloves and hooded tops with the hoods up and their faces covered. The first wore light grey jogging bottoms, black trainers and a black hooded top, carrying a large green bag with yellow handles.
The second, who had a local accent, wore black tracksuit bottoms, a black and grey hooded top and carried a crowbar. The third wore dark grey jogging bottoms, black trainers and black hooded top; he was carrying a flagstone.
The fourth wore a dark blue hooded top with yellow or orange drawstrings, black tracksuit bottoms and black trainers with bright white soles.
Witnesses can ring police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.