* A masked gunman opened fire on a sales assistant at a North East c-store while his female getaway driver waited outside. The shot missed the female member of staff at the News Market store in Neville’s Cross Bank, Durham, by inches, and struck cigarette packets behind her. The terrified sales assistant then handed over cash from the store’s till before the robber fled to a waiting silver car driven by a blonde woman. A police spokesman said the gun was a BB pellet gun but it could still have caused serious injury.

* Two masked raiders armed with a garden spade robbed the Spar store in Cherry Hinton, Cambridge. The robber carrying the spade approached the store’s counter while his accomplice kept lookout at the front door. The armed robber forced staff to hand over a small amount of money from the till before jumping over the counter in search of more money. The pair then left the store and escaped in a van.

* Police used CCTV footage from a c-store in Surrey to arrest the ringleader of a teenage gang that had stolen alcohol from the retail outlet. The gang had run riot in Ashtead town centre, near Epsom, after stealing 10 cans of lager from the One Stop store on Craddocks Parade. However, when police arrived on the scene, they were able to view images taken by the store’s CCTV camera positioned out the front of the outlet to identify the gang leader and eventually arrest him.

* A Co-op Welcome store in Essex has hired a security guard after being targeted by armed robbers. The store in Stansted took the extra security step when the gang, armed with a handgun, forced staff to hand over hundreds of pounds before they made their escape.