"Masked men" raided a Co-op store in Romford in a "scary" broad daylight incident.

Police were called to the Dagenham Road shop in Rush Green at around 8am on Tuesday (September 19).

Four suspects stole “several items” including cigarettes, vapes and alcohol, police said, before they made off in a car.

A spokesperson for the Co-op has told the Recorder that no-one was hurt during the incident. Police were called to the site, they said, and an investigation has been launched.

No arrests have been made so far and enquiries are ongoing to trace the perpetrators.

The Co-op spokesperson said: "We do urge anyone who may have any information to come forward to police."

The store was shut for hours following the raid but has since been re-opened. A customer, Jess Dowse, shared with the Recorder that she saw the store “get raided by three masked men” while “another stood at the door keeping the door open”.

She added: “I witnessed this happen and was left shaken trying to comfort a member of the staff who was crying."

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She claimed that this isn’t the first time this particular Co-op store has been targeted by thieves, adding: “It is very scary. Something needs to be done to protect the staff and customers.”

Matt Hood, Co-op Food managing director, said it has invested more than £200m in recent years in colleague and community  safety to counter criminal behaviour.

Some of the measures taken include putting in place interactive and remote monitored CCTVs and body-worn cameras, communication headsets for frontline employees, covert and non-covert guarding, and security.

In June, a Co-op store in Elm Park saw an attempted break-in when the shop front was smashed by a van.

Officers have urged witnesses to the recent theft from the Rush Green Co-op store to contact the police on 101 or or via X @MetCC quoting reference 1494/19SEP23.