A SALE shopkeeper was hit with a hammer during an attempted robbery.

The victim and store owner of Sam and Nam Express on Ventnor Avenue was sorting through the morning papers shortly after 6.30am on Wednesday, March 5, when the offender entered.

He approached the 57-year-old shopkeeper armed with a claw hammer and made demands for cash.

The victim held his hands up in a defensive gesture, only for the offender to hit him on the hand with the weapon.

After making further demands for cash he ran off empty handed across Glebelands Road and onto Doveston Road.

The man sustained bruising to his hand.

The offender is described as white, 20 years old, 5ft 7in tall and of slim build. He spoke with a local accent and was wearing dark clothing and a balaclava.

Detectives are investigating whether the incident is linked to two similar robberies – one at Martins Newsagents on Coppice Avenue on February 26 and another at McColl’s on Framingham Road on March 1 – due to similar MO of offender and timeframe in which premises were targeted.

DC Paul Walls, said: “We are investigating whether this attempted robbery is linked to two similar incidents that have occurred over the past week or so.

“On all three occasions innocent shopkeepers have been going about their business early in the morning when they have been targeted and threatened.

“These men frequently work long hours in their shops to provide a service to the communities they serve and should not expect to have their livelihood threatened by mindless thugs who want to take what does not belong to them.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 7530 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 1