A GANG of machete-wielding armed robbers who could be responsible for as many as three shop raids in and around Bolton have been caught on camera.
Police are linking two raids, one at a Co-op store in Newbrook Road, Over Hulton at 8.20pm on December 23, and another at Ringley Stores in Radcliffe at 7pm the same day.
Both raids were carried out by three men brandishing machetes who stole cash and cigarettes.
Police are also refusing to rule out the gang's involvement in a robbery at Ma Food and Wine, in Atherton Road, Hindley, on December 30 at about 9.05pm.
That incident also involved the use of a machete and a white getaway van, which was also spotted in the Over Hulton raid a week earlier.
Police have now released CCTV footage, taken at the Over Hulton Co-op, of the three men they believe were responsible in a renewed appeal for information from anyone who saw anything suspicious or a white van driving round at the time of the raid.
Thousands of pounds of cash and cigarettes were taken from the shop after the gang threatened a worker with a large machete.
£300 of cash was stolen in the raid at the Radcliffe shop, in which three men, described as carrying “machetes or large knives” threatened the owner.
It is understood that between £4,000 and £5,000 of cash and cigarettes was taken from Ma Food and Wine, which is believed to have been owned by a Swiss man for the last six months.
In the Over Hulton raid three men burst in and took cigarettes from behind the counter and money from the till before running out of the shop and escaping in the white van, which was also captured on CCTV.
The man with the machete was described as white, with a three-quarter hooded coat, dark tracksuit bottoms, grey Adidas trainers and a balaclava covering his face.
The second wore a navy blue three-quarter hooded coat, a dark face covering, black Adidas tracksuit bottoms and black trainers.
The man carrying a Nike holdall wore a navy blue waist-length hooded top, a blue face covering and light grey Adidas tracksuit bottoms.
Det Sgt Tony Lunt said: “The CCTV footage is very clear and I would urge you to take a close look at these men.
“If you recognise them from the clothes they are wearing or have any information about the incident, please contact the police as soon as possible.”
Anyone with information can phone police on 0161 8565608 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.