Robbers dragged a woman shop assistant across a supermarket by her hair in a terrifying armed raid.

Two masked men burst into the Co-operative Food in Market Street, Westhoughton, just before 10pm on January 6.

They threatened staff with a screwdriver and a bat before stealing hundreds of pounds and cigarettes.

It is understood the staff member was behind the counter and tried to flee to a rear store room.

The robbers caught up with her and dragged her back to the till, which they forced her to open.

It is understood she was kicked in the ribs, had clumps of her hair pulled out and was left with a sprained wrist.

Paramedics were called and treated a woman for shock after she fainted.

A Co-operative Food spokesman said no customers were in the store but staff had been left “badly shaken”.

The raid came just two days after thugs armed with a bat stole hundreds of pounds from Betfred bookmakers in Market Street.

Cllr Christopher Peacock, who represents Westhoughton North and Chew Moor, said the town council would speak to police about the security of businesses in Market Street.

He added: “It is obviously concerning that there has been another incident in Market Street.

“We regularly speak to the local police team who do a good job in Westhoughton.

“Using the CCTV cameras we have had installed in the town centre we will try to help support the police in catching the people who have done this.”

No arrests have been made and police said inquiries are ongoing.

A staff member at a local newsagents, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s not great for old people, who already feel worried about going out.

“They might need milk or something late on and be too scared to go out if they think they might witness something like this.”

An elderly shopper from Wingates, who also asked to remain anonymous, added: “Perhaps the time of year has got something to do with it, with people a bit short after Christmas.”

The men were described as wearing dark clothing and are understood to have driven away in a dark Vauxhall estate car.

Anyone with information can phone police on 0161 8565619 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.