A GANG of machete-wielding armed robbers who could be responsible for three shop raids have been caught on camera.

Police are linking a raid in Ringley Stores in Radcliffe at 7pm on December 23 and a copycat robbery at the Co-op store in Newbrook Road, Over Hulton, Bolton, at 8.20pm the same night.

The three-strong gang stole cash and cigarettes and detectives are refusing to rule out their involvement in a robbery at Ma Food and Wine, in Atherton Road, Hindley, shortly after 9pm on December 30.

That incident also involved the use of a machete and a white getaway van, with a white van also used in the Over Hulton raid.

Police have now released CCTV footage, taken at the Over Hulton Co-op, of the three men they believe were responsible in a renewed appeal for information.

Thousands of pounds of cash and cigarettes were taken from the shop after the gang threatened a worker with a large machete.

Three men carrying machetes or large knives had earlier threatened the owbner of the store in Ringley Road West, Radcliffe, and stole £300 in cash. .

It is understood that cash and cigarettes, worth between £4,000 and £5,000 was taken from Ma Food and Wine.

Det Sgt Tony Lunt said: “The CCTV footage is very clear and I would urge you to take a close look at these men.

“If you recognise them from the clothes they are wearing or have any information about the incident, please contact the police as soon as possible.”

The first offender was described as white, wearing a three-quarter hooded coat and a balaclava covering his face, dark grey tracksuit bottoms and grey Adidas trainers, and was carrying a machete.

The second was wearing a navy blue three-quarter hooded coat with a dark face covering. He wore black Adidas tracksuit bottoms and black trainers.

The third was wearing man a navy blue waist-length hooded top with a blue face covering. He wore light grey Adidas tracksuit bottoms and was carrying a Nike holdall.

Anyone with information can phone police on 0161 8565608 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.