POLICE are hunting a robber who grappled with a terrified woman assistant before stealing cash from a Clayton-le-Moors off-licence.
The raider jumped onto the counter of The Wine Shop in Barnes Street and after a struggle with the sales girl he grabbed money from the till. He then made off in a gold-coloured Peugeot in the direction of Pickup Street, leaving the woman shocked but unhurt.
Concerned residents claimed that a CCTV camera in nearby Barnes Square was unable to see the shop, as well as a number of other business premises on the right-hand side of Barnes Street. One of them commented: "The camera was put there for a good purpose but it is about as useless as a chocolate fireguard.''
A police spokesman said: "Obviously there is an element of luck in what the system sees. Sometimes it looks down Barnes Street before turning to Pickup Street and then towards the Wellington pub.''
He confirmed that the camera had failed to pick up any footage of the robbery, which happened at 9.10pm on Saturday.
Detective Inspector Pete Broome of Accrington CID said: "The man went into the shop and got involved in a conversation with the assistant about what was the strongest kind of lager on sale. He then made his purchase but when the till was opened he suddenly jumped on the counter and grabbed cash. While I would not describe the amount stolen as substantial, it was not a sum which anyone could really afford to lose at this time of year.''
The man the police are looking for is white, in his early 20s, and 5ft 6ins to 5ft 8ins tall. He was wearing dark clothing and a blue cap.
Police have posted letters through the doors of nearby residents appealing for help in catching the culprit. Anyone with information is asked to contact Accrington CID on 353341.