A masked robber armed with a firearm demanded cash from a terrified shopworker.
Officers were called to the Simply Food and Drink shop on Newcastle Road in Sunderland at around 2.15pm today.
A man, who was wearing a balaclava, threatened a female employee with what appeared to be a firearm and demanded they hand over money from the till.
The robber grabbed a small quantity of cash before he left the store and made off on a bicycle.
The woman was the only person in the shop at the time and was not injured, however, police say she was left extremely upset by the incident.
Inquiries to locate the man are ongoing and there is a heavy police presence in the area surrounding the shop this afternoon.
Anyone who saw the man - who was wearing all black and spoke with a local accent - in the area around the time of the incident should contact police straight away.
Extra patrols will be in the area to reassure residents.
Anyone with information that may help the investigation you can speak to those officers or dial 101 quoting log 690 03/09/17.
You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.