POLICE have launched a manhunt following an armed robbery in Lowton.
Two masked thieves, brandishing a gun and an axe, entered the Co-Operative Food store on Church Lane at about 8.50pm on Friday, February 24, and stole cigarettes and cash.
The men threatened three members of staff, told them to get on the floor, and asked for the money.
One of the thieves went behind the till area and threatened to shoot one of the staff if they moved.
After putting a quantity of cash and cigarettes into what looked like a light-coloured duvet cover, the gang left and got into a waiting car, driving off towards the East Lancashire Road.
The car, a stolen gold Renault Megane, was later found abandoned on that road, in between Atherleigh Way and the Greyhound Roundabout.
The first man, who was holding the gun, was described as being of a stocky build, about 6ft tall and wearing a black balaclava with two eye holes cut out, cream coloured tracksuit bottoms and a light coloured jacket.
His accomplice, who had the axe which was about six to eight inches long, was of a slim build, 5ft 10in tall, wearing a black balaclava and dark colouring. Fortunately, nobody was injured during the incident.
Detective Constable Suzanne Rigby, of Wigan CID, said: “The offenders we are looking for have obvious access to firearms and other weapons, and it is absolutely crucial we find these men before they strike again”.
Assuring businesses that there would be an increased presence in the area she warned people to tell police if they are offered Pall Mall or Mayfair cigarettes, to call police immediately Wigan CID on 0161 856 7295 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.