A pub boss was sprayed in the eyes with an unknown substance by a robber as he took his takings to the bank.

Chris Marsh, manager of the Bees Knees pub, was also punched in the back of the head by the thief who made off with an amount of money in cash after grabbing a bag from him.

Mr Marsh, who runs the St James’s Street pub in Accrington town centre, temporarily lost his vision in the attack on Birch Street just off Blackburn Road on Monday at 2pm.

He was taken to hospital in an ambulance after the attack but has since returned to work.

Police sealed off the street after the attack as they launched a manhunt to track down the people responsible.

DS Ian Proctor, of Accrington CID, said the hunt was on to catch the robber. He said: “Around 200 yards from the pub, as he turned into Birch Street,  which runs between Blackburn Road and Willow Street, he was hit from behind to the head and sprayed with an unknown substance which has temporarily caused a loss of vision.

“The offender, who was wearing a grey hooded top and dark trousers, has then made off in the direction of the Edgar Street area. The victim is okay but very shaken up.

“He was checked by paramedics and taken to hospital but has no serious injuries.”

Anyone who may have seen this incident or saw anyone acting suspiciously at that time on Monday should contact CID on 01254 353741.