POLICE are hunting a masked attacker after two people were hurt in four attempted robberies in Bradford and Keighley.

The attacks happened between yesterday afternoon and this morning.

Each time the lone man, armed with a hammer, demanded money but fled empty handed.

He is being described as dark skinned, aged 20 – 35 years, slim build, between five feet seven inches and six feet tall, clean shaven and wearing a dark jacket and gloves.

The first incident occurred at 1.05pm,yesterday at a bookmakers' on Allerton Road where the manager was threatened with a hammer outside the shop but was able to fight him off, escaping with minor bruises.

The second attack happened at 5.15pm on the same day at a convenience store in Staveley Road, Keighley, when the man again made threats with the hammer but the shop owners were able to activate the alarm and he ran off.

Just before 9pm, the suspect went into a convenience shop in Thornton Road brandishing a small claw hammer. The owner tried to disarm him and was repeatedly struck with the weapon - the man smashed his way through a perspex screen and out of the shop and his face was uncovered and captured on CCTV. No property was stolen and he ran down Middlebrook Way.

The fourth incident was at 6.45am today when a woman who was coming out of a side door of the pub she lives in in Girlington Road was approached by the man - she managed to lock the door and get away from him but he was seen running towards Thornton Road.

Detective Inspector Neil Benstead, of Bradford CID, said: "At this stage we believe the incidents are linked; it is still possible that what happened this morning is not connected, however we are investigating every possibility. On each occasion the victims were left shaken and, in two cases, they have physical injuries as a result of what occurred.

"Hopefully someone will recognise this man from the CCTV footage or from the description provided by the victims and witnesses. We urge anyone who might have information about these attempted robberies or who was in the area at the times when they were committed, to call us on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111."