A SWORD-wielding masked robber terrorised staff at a betting shop before escaping with cash.

Two workers at the Coral betting shop on Harry Potts Way, Burnley, were left fearing for their lives after the man, wearing a balaclava, entered the shop brandishing a two-foot-long sword.

The robber entered the shop, which lies in the shadow of Turf Moor, carrying the bladed weapon at around 8.45pm on Monday.

The man, who police have described as a ’dangerous individual’, then approached the counter and demanded money from staff.

As the workers cowered, he swung the sword and struck the computer screen which operates the cash till before knocking over publicity displays within the shop.

He then jumped over the counter, while continuing to scream demands for money and brandished the weapon towards staff.

The robber fled taking around £200 from the till.

He is thought to have escaped towards Holcombe Drive.

No customers were in the bookies’ shop at the time the incident.

The suspect is described as white, approximately 5ft 10in in height with a slim build and spoke with a local accent.

He was wearing a grey track-suit top with a logo on the top of the hood and dark track-suit bottoms.

DI Nicola Bithell, from East CID, said: “This was a violent and aggressive attack which left the two members of staff terrified and fearful for their own safety.

“I would appeal to anyone who has any information that may assist us in identifying this dangerous individual to come forward.”

Customers at the shop yesterday expressed their shock at the robbery.

Michael Rowntree, 54, of nearby Belvedere Road, said: “I pop in here occasionally and the staff are all very friendly and welcoming.

“It’s awful for this to happen to them and it is concerning that someone dangerous like this is on the loose in our neighbourhood.”

A Coral spokesman said that the ‘safety of our customers and our staff is of paramount importance’.

They added: "Armed robbery is an extremely serious crime and, though fortunately these crimes against betting shops have fallen over the last couple of years, when they do take place they always cause great distress to staff members involved.

“In such instances, as with the recent robbery, our main concern and focus is providing help and support to the members of staff involved and also with assisting the police investigation to achieve an arrest and prosecution of the perpetrator of this awful crime.

“We have CCTV in all our shops and carry out regular risk assessments of all our shops to evaluate what other security measures to install.

“We also use time-lock, insert safes in all our shops, as recommended by the police, as this limits the amount of money that is accessible at any moment in time.”

Anybody with any information about the robbery should call police on 101 quoting reference LC-20140721-1516.