ARMED robbers wielding machetes carried out a terrifying raid as security guards filled up a cash machine.

The three-strong gang, who were wearing balaclavas, threatened the guards at the Newbrook Service Station in Newbrook Road, Over Hulton, at 10am yesterday.

They made off with a cash box, although it is not known how much money it contained, in a black Audi convertible, possibly an A4 or A5.

Terrified neighbours spoke of their shock at the robbery, which comes just weeks after the nearby Co-op was targeted.

A member of staff at the store was hit with a hammer as a gang dressed in paper suits burst in and stole £50 from the till.

Sue Chadwick, manager at Gemma Ladies High Class Fashion and Hat Hire, said: “There were a lot of police cars there and customers were coming in and asking what was going on.

“It is very scary it happened at that time of day. It is just horrible.

“It is not long since the Co-op was robbed. It is all going on a bit too close to home.

“I feel for anyone who has something like that happen to them because it leaves a really bad impression on you.”

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “I was working nights and I woke up at 11am, opened the curtains and could see the garage crawling with police.

“It is a sign of the times these days.”

Another, who also asked not to be named, added: “It is so brazen to do that during the day when there are people about.”

No one was injured in the garage raid but the victims were left shaken.

Det Insp Gary Smith, of Bolton CID, said: “This was a brazen robbery in broad daylight and I am keen to hear from anyone who saw what happened or who may have seen the car in the area beforehand.

“In cases like this offenders will usually abandon the getaway car but it remains outstanding and I would ask anyone who has knowledge of the black Audi A4 or A5 convertible that was used or who may have seen it being abandoned to call us.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 5740, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.