MASKED raiders escaped with a substantial amount of money after threatening two security staff with a machete-style knife as they filled up a cash point machine.

The balaclava-wearing robbers threatened one of the Loomis security guards as he was retrieving the cash box from the van outside of the Sainsbury’s store on Crescent Road in Middlesbrough at about 6.30am this morning (Friday, February 7).

At least one of the robbers was brandishing a large machete- type weapon when they threatened the guard and a scuffle ensued.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “The security guard was then frog-marched over to his colleague inside the store and they threatened them into handing over a substantial amount of cash.

“The driver of a dark car was waiting for them outside of the shop and they made off down Crescent Road towards Union Street.

"Police have subsequently recovered a grey Vauxhall Astra in Meath Street in Middlesbrough a short distance away from the scene and are carrying out forensic tests on it.”

Police are carrying out extra patrols in the area and following up house-to-house enquiries in the area.

A Sainsbury's spokesman said: “We can confirm that there was a robbery at our Crescent Road Local store this morning.

"No one was harmed and we are working with the police on their investigations.”

Anyone who was in the area who saw anything suspicious or knows anything about the robbery is asked to contact Cleveland Police on the non-emergency number 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.

*In a separate incident, a substantial amount of cash was stolen during a robbery in a Hartlepool car park.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Police were called to a robbery today just before 3pm in the car park at the rear of St Patrick’s Shops on Owton Manor Lane in Hartlepool. It is believed a substantial amount of cash was stolen.”

Enquiries are ongoing and anyone who witnessed an incident in the car park is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.