MASKED robbers carrying knives raided a York convenience store leaving staff terrified.

The two raiders targeted McColl’s in Crichton Avenue in Clifton, and took cash from the till. Police say the shop workers were not hurt but were left very shaken.

There were no customers inside the shop at the time of the attack, which took place at 9.25pm on Saturday.

One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said a young female shop assistant was trembling and visibly afraid afterwards.

She said: “There was a crowd outside the shop - that’s how we knew something was going on. Then the police came, and they were all over the place afterwards.

“I think they are going to have to step up their presence round here. There used to be PCSOs on the street all the time, but I haven’t seen any since Christmas.”

The shop was cordoned off and closed for business until mid-morning yesterday.

Residents said there was a heavy police presence in the streets around the shop on Saturday evening and yesterday officers were seen making door-to-door inquiries in the area.

Now police say detectives are making extensive investigations to find the suspects, including forensic examinations at the scene and CCTV analysis.

Both of the robbers were wearing hooded tops and scarves over their faces and police want witnesses, or anyone else who can help, to come forward.

Coun Ken King, who represents Clifton on City of York Council, spoke of a strong community spirit in the area.

“I am astounded that something like this has taken place in that area. There is normally a thriving community round there, so for someone to go into those shops to rob them surprises me.

“As I understand it, crime has been going down in Clifton and across York. It must have been terrible for the people who were working in the shop. I just hope the police find those responsible and bring them to court for the justice they deserve.”

Staff in the shop declined to comment yesterday, and a spokesman for McColl’s said it was company policy not to issue any statements while police investigations were ongoing.

Coun Helen Douglas, who lives close to the shop, said the attack was shocking, especially as community safety had improved in Clifton over recent years.

“It just seems unreal.

“Things have improved massively in the 13 years I have been here because of a lot of work by the police, the council, the local church and schools.”

• A 23-year-old man was last night arrested by police in connection with the robbery and was being held in custody.