KNIFE-WIELDING robbers have carried out five attacks in four days, spreading fear among shopkeepers in Deane.
Staff at KC Top Shop newsagents in Deane Church Lane were the latest victims when it was raided at about 8.15pm on Sunday.
It followed two robberies at hair salons, Talking Heads in Deane Church Lane, on January 16, and Cabello for Hair in Wigan Road, on Saturday.
Police have stepped up patrols and are linking the raids to two street robberies last week.
Shop owners have spoken about concerns for their staff’s safety after the wave of attacks.
One shop, Cake Delight in Deane Church Lane, is closing temporarily to have extra security installed.
Insp Andy Sidebotham, of Bolton Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Officers in uniform and plain clothes are trying to identify people.
"We are carefully examining the crimes and going through the evidence. I am appealing to anyone with information related to these crimes to let us know.”
Police believe the culprits are local. He added: “Businesses should take sensible precautions, these robberies are happening at all times of the day.
“People should be aware of their surroundings particularly when they are going to get cash.
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“Hopefully the public will know we are doing everything we can to find these offenders and bring them to justice.”
In the latest raid, the robber was wearing a Call of Duty skull mask and threatened staff with a knife.
He fled on foot with about £50 from the till, was chased from the store and is thought to have dropped his keys in an alleyway. No one was injured.
One of the men who chased him did not want to be named, but said: “I came out of my house because I heard a load of noise.
“The guy was running down the alley at the side of my house and he dropped his keys down there. He was dressed all in black, about six feet tall and he had a Call of Duty skull mask.”
At about 7.30am on Thursday, a man had £200 stolen from him and was punched to the ground in Dorris Street.
On Saturday night, at about 10.15pm, Craig Greenhalgh, aged 23, was attacked on his way home from the pub, where he had been celebrating the birth of his daughter with friends.
The attackers did not steal anything but Mr Greenhalgh was punched in the jaw during the struggle in Back Deane Church Lane.
Staff at Talking Heads were threatened with an eight-inch kitchen knife and handed over about £200 in the raid at 3pm on Thursday. On Saturday, the thugs stole about £350 from Cabello for Hair at noon.
One robber is described as being in his early 20s, six feet tall with a dark-coloured scarf over his face. The second man is said to be about 5ft 9ins tall, gaunt, with a dark hooded top.
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.