The men responsible for a string on armed robberies in Cullingworth, Oxenhope and Halifax targeted two Bradford petrol stations just minutes earlier, police have revealed.

And detectives have now issued an appeal for anyone with information about the robberies on Saturday evening.

The robbers are believed to have used a dark Volkswagen Golf with fake licence plates for their crime spree.

Two men in balaclavas and armed with hammers stormed into the Co-op at Greenside Lane, Cullingworth, at 8.39pm and then committed a similar robbery just 11 minutes later at the Co-op in Station Road, Oxenhope.

They went on to target a McColls on Highroad Well Lane, Halifax, and the Sainsbury’s Local on Park Drive, Halifax.

Shortly before their armed raids, they visited two petrol stations in Bradford. At 8.22pm they attempted to steal fuel from a garage on Thornton Road, Thornton. Eight minutes later they successfully stole fuel from a petrol station at Haworth Road.

Detective Inspector Neil Benstead said: “In all four offences, two people dressed in balaclavas and armed with hammers have entered the businesses and demanded cash from tills. Thankfully none of the cashiers were injured but this was understandably a frightening ordeal for them and we are making extensive inquiries to locate those responsible.

“The incidents are being officially linked and we are keen to speak to anyone who witnessed any part of this crime spree or who may have information about those responsible.

“The suspects were using a dark-coloured, possibly blue or black, Volkswagen Golf with the registration number FR12 UFW. We believe this vehicle was displaying false number plates. We would also urge anyone with information about the movements of this vehicle or its current whereabouts to get in contact.”

Five Co-op stores across the Bradford area have now been robbed between January 23 and February 1.

A spokesman for Co-operative Food said: “We take all incidents of retail crime extremely seriously and review security at our stores after any such incidents. We are liaising with police locally, and have given them CCTV footage.

“As always, we would appeal for anyone with information about these incidents to come forward.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Bradford CID on 101.