SHOPKEEPERS whose stores were raided by masked men say they fear repeat attacks.

Masked robbers struck at three shops in York at Hallowe’en, taking cash, damaging stock, and assaulting two shopkeepers.

The police arrested two people in connection with the incidents, but they have been released with no charges being brought.

Joyce Zhao, owner of the Londis store in New Earswick, was assaulted by the raiders during the robbery, but managed to retain some evidence in the scuffle.

Joyce, 29, said: “They just came in with masks on. I thought they were just kidding, they might be regulars just joking, then they started to pull the till out and I realised we were being robbed.

“I started pulling the till back and they pushed me over, but I pulled their gloves off in the argument.

“I’m really, really worried they will come back, because the police didn’t get them and if they think it’s that easy to get away with it, they will come back.”

Adnan Kerim, 33, was working in Kopernic Foods, in Walmgate, and was also assaulted in an attempted robbery.

He said: “He picked up a bottle of vodka and hit me in the head with it. I tried to get out and grab him and in a second he pushed all the spirits off the shelf, and broke 12 or 13 bottles.

“I was worried that a fire or explosion could start, and I could have lost my life, but at that point he just ran off.”

“Nothing else has happened since then, though. Next Hallowe’en I think we will close the shop early or have more staff on to stay safe.”

Dan Crosby, assistant manager of the Spar shop, in Lowther Street, which was also targeted by the Hallowe’en robbers, said his store was taking precautions against further incidents.

He said: “The people on duty were both shaken up by the robbery at the time, but now it’s just one of those things. It could happen to anyone of us at any time of the day.

“It’s always a concern for anyone who works in retail.

“We are in the process of trying to get a security guard on an evening and through the day, not as a result of this specific incident, but it can’t hurt.”

A North Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “Despite extensive inquiries and police action in this case, there was insufficient evidence to pursue a case against the three people who were arrested at the time. If any further information or evidence comes to light, it will be vigorously pursued.

“Incidents of this nature are thankfully rare in York and North Yorkshire, although we recognise that this caused considerable alarm at the time.

“North Yorkshire Police has numerous crime prevention and reassurance patrol strategies in place to support our local communities.”