ROBBERS have targeted South Craven over the past week, and on two occasions staff have been threatened with weapons.

There have been armed robberies at an engineering plant in Eastburn and a petrol station in Cross Hills, and a till snatch at the village store in Sutton.

Police believe the last two incidents could be linked.

On Sunday, masked raiders struck at Landis Lund, Eastburn, threatening a night watchman with a Samurai-type sword.

The two robbers punched him and trussed him up with electrical cable before fleeing in a stolen car.

Both robbers were wearing black ski masks and rubber hospital gloves in the raid, which occurred between 8pm and 9.30pm.

The 38-year-old security guard suffered minor injuries and was treated at nearby Airedale Hospital.

Detective Chief Inspector Roger Gasson, of Keighley police, said: "The robbers confronted him on the shop floor as he was doing his rounds. They punched him and tied him up with electrical cable. One of the men was carrying a Samurai sword."

The men escaped with valuable computers in a car they stole from the premises.

Both robbers wore black clothing, and spoke with Manchester-Leeds accents.

One is described as over 6ft tall, of stocky build, wearing black jeans, black fleece jacket and black trainers. He was carrying a samurai-type sword with brown string round a white handle.

The second man was smaller and also wearing a grey canvas coat with a hood and black jeans.

They escaped in a red Ford Focus, registration YJ02 EZM.

Now police want to hear from passersby who saw anyone hanging around the premises prior to the attack. Anyone who can help should ring the helpline on 01535 617083.

It is the second time that raiders have struck at the engineering plant. In November two men attacked a security guard and threatened him with a knife and small gun, before tying him up and stealing computer equipment.

Landis Lund did not wish to comment on the latest attack.

And last Friday, a female assistant at Sutton Village Stores was confronted by a robber at about 8.30pm.

A man went up to the till, supposedly to buy a pint of milk, and as the assistant rang through the purchase, he pushed her away and grabbed money from the till.

The incident could be linked with an armed robbery at the Esso petrol station in Cross Hills exactly a week earlier. Photofits of the two suspects have been released.

Det Sgt Peter Martin said: "The descriptions of the offenders are very similar.

"Fortunately in the second crime a firearm was not used so we are keeping an open mind as to whether it is the same person. But, again, I would appeal to the public to help us identify this man."

The robbery at Sutton Village Stores came just two weeks after new owner Fiona Snowden took over the business.

She told the Herald: "It was a bit like a stab in the back. We were just getting it up and running, and someone does that to you. We're getting back to normal now. People have been coming in and wishing us luck. and I would like to thank them for their support and well wishes.

"We are just lucky that he didn't have any weapons."

The thief is described as 6ft 2ins tall, in his early 30s, and of slim build. He was wearing a a green jacket with a blue pattern on the sleeves and dark trousers.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Skipton Police on 01756 793377. Alternatively details can be left with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.