MASKED gunmen carried out terrifying raids on four businesses in the space of just 11 days, a court heard.

Lee Davies and Paul Woodcock, both aged 34, of Kendrew Road, Deane, appeared at Bolton Crown Court yesterday, accused of raiding the office of a window cleaning company, two bookmakers and a post office between December 31, 2007, and January 10, 2008.

In total, they each denied five charges of robbery and four counts of firearms offences.

Henry Blackshaw, prosecuting, showed the jury two imitation guns used in the four robberies.

He said: “Each one of these robberies was a terrifying experience for the people involved. “All of the incidents have common features. There were two men carrying these guns. On each occasion it was a small business.”

The robbers were wearing dark clothing with scarves covering their faces, wearing hood tops and gloves, which prevented police identifying them by fingerprints or facial recognition.

Officers gathered mobile phone records and a knife used in the first robbery was recovered as evidence.

The first raid took place at C and G Cleaning in Willows Lane, Deane, on December 31, 2007.

Secretary Donna Smith, answered the door at 3pm, assuming it was one of the firm’s window cleaners.

Mr Blackshaw told the court that the first man, said to be Woodcock, shouted: “Where’s the money?” Owner Colin Gregory thought it was one of his staff playing a practical joke.

The men ordered Mr Gregory to open the safe, but it was not in use and he did not have a key.

They demanded Mr Gregory’s wallet, containing 700 euros he had collected for a holiday, and Ms Smith’s mobile phone, which she had tried to use to call the police.

Later that day a relative of Davies cashed 260 euros at Deane Post Office but staff were suspicious and contacted the police. In the final robbery, the court heard, two armed men stole between £2,000 and £3,000 from Daisy Hill Post Office in Westhoughton.

The court heard Davies was only directly involved, allegedly, in the first two robberies.

The trial continues.