MASKED robbers broke into a petrol station shop and threatened staff with an axe.

Four men broke smashed through the glass doors of the Co-op store next to the petrol station on Manchester Road in Astley before threatening workers with the weapon.

The yobs took a quantity of cash and cigarettes before leaving the shop and fleeing in a white Audi in the direction of Hough Lane.

The robbery took place at around 10.40pm on Tuesday, December 5.

The Audi had been reported stolen from Tyldesley on November 16 from Tyldesley and was using false registration plates.

After the robbery, it was found dumped on Whitehead Lane in Astley.

The police have released CCTV images of the incident and are asking for anyone with information to contact them.

Detective Sergeant Alison Witkiewicz, of GMP’s Wigan borough, said: “This was a brutal and targeted attack that has left the employees extremely shaken.

“These men were armed and using a stolen car - the consequences of their actions could have been much worse and they need to be held accountable for their actions.

“I am appealing to anyone who recognises anything in the pictures that might help our investigation to please get in touch.

“I would also appeal to anyone who has any information relating to this incident to please contact police.”

Officers also confirmed no-one was hurt in the robbery.

If you have any information about the incident contact the police on 101 quoting reference number 2422 of December 5 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.