A KNIFE-WIELDING raider stole thousands of pounds from shopworkers in a terrifying dawn raid.

The man targeted the smaller East of England Co-op store in Station Road, Brightlingsea.

Armed with a blade, the robber approached two members of staff - thought to be two women - during their early morning shift on Friday.

The assailant demanded cash and the staff members handed over what was available to them. He then escaped with what has been described as a four-figure sum of money.

Police are now appealing for witnesses who saw what happened or the aftermath of the worrying incident to get in touch as soon as possible.

The suspect is described as white, of medium build and is thought to be approximately 5ft 5ins tall.

The victims estimated his age to be in his late 20s to early 30s.

During the frightening robbery he had a scarf covering the bottom half of his face and was wearing a navy blue hooded top and tracksuit trousers.

He was also wearing dark-coloured gloves and stashed the money a black and white JD Sports bag.

A spokesman for Essex Police said it was vital for anyone who knew anything to come forward.

He said: “If you saw anything, have any CCTV or dash cam footage, or have any other information please call us on 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/8701/20 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Details can also be given to the independent crimefighting charity online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

The larger Co-op store in Samson’s Road, Brightlingsea, was shut yesterday morning after a window had appeared to be smashed.

However, it was open again by lunchtime with business running as usual.