Help us unmask Sunderland raider

The Spar raider

The Spar raider

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A MASKED man walks into a Sunderland shop and pulls a suspected gun on terrified shop workers.

Seconds after this picture was taken, the robber pointed the weapon at store staff and demanded they hand over the takings from the till.

He then grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the Spar in Ryhope Road, Ashbrooke.

Detectives released this CCTV picture to the Echo in the hope that someone might recognise clothing worn by the man as police work to trace him.

The thief walked into the shop, which is part of a garage, wearing a black balaclava pulled down over his face. He then pulled out a weapon, covered by a black cloth, demanding a worker behind the counter hand over the money.

Staff were left shaken by the raid but were not injured.

Police investigations initially led officers to believe the man pulled a gun on staff, although they say it could have been another sort of weapon wrapped in a bag or type of cloth.

Officers are now renewing their appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

They would also like to speak to a male who was on a bike outside the store at around the time of the robbery.

Inspector Neal Craig, who heads Sunderland Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We’d particularly like to speak to the cyclist as he may have seen the person responsible for the robbery leave the Spar shop, probably without realising.

“We’re carrying out inquiries to establish what the weapon was but think it would’ve been noticeable.

“The robbery happened around 10.15pm on the night before Valentine’s Day, which may jog some people’s memory as to whether or not they were in the area.

“We’d urge anyone who was to get in contact.”

Anyone with any information should contact Northumbria Police on 03456 043 043 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.