MASKED thugs armed with crowbars raided a supermarket leaving workers, including a young man on his first shift, shaken-up.

Essex Police officers were called to Old Heath Road, Colchester, at about 6.30pm on Sunday.

The force attended the scene after receiving reports of an armed robbery which was taking place inside the East of England Co-op.

It was soon established two men, one armed with a crowbar, had made off with cash and cigarettes after threatening staff.

Matthew Graham, 37, who has lived opposite the Co-op for 12 years, said: “I heard the police and was told two guys parked their car and went into the shop with their faces covered and with crowbars.


“Nobody was hurt, they were just shaken-up and there was a guy on his first shift – I can’t imagine he will forget it for a while.

“It is quite brazen at that time of night when the shop is still very active, but it is the second time now in six months the same Co-op has been hit.”

Sammy Jade, 29, who headed to the Co-op to pick-up some baked beans, was just minutes away from being caught up in the armed robbery herself.

She said: “As we arrived one police car was already at the scene along with the Co-op security and a gaggle of people and officers were outside the shop.

“We could see a handful of people inside, but the shutters were down, so we headed to another shop after realising we couldn’t buy our baked beans for dinner.

“It is scary and disgusting what happened and I just want to send my thoughts and well-wishes to the staff working – we can only hope better security is installed.”


A spokeswoman for the East of England Co-op confirmed an incident took place at the store but would not specify exactly what happened.

She said: “We’re supporting our colleagues involved in this distressing incident and are working closely with the police.

“If anyone knows anything we ask they please contact Essex police or Crimestoppers anonymously.”

A spokesman for Essex Police has now said the force is appealing for information.

He added: "We were called at 6.30pm on Sunday 16 January following reports of an armed robbery at the Co-op store in Old Heath Road, Colchester.

"It was reported two men entered the store and stole a quantity of cash and cigarettes.

"One man had a crowbar but no-one was seriously injured.

"The men left with cash and cigarettes.

"Anyone with information is asked to call 101 and quote crime reference 42/13445/22.

"If you have any information you can submit a report online at or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am-11pm.

"You can also call us on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."