Robbers set fire to a petrol filling station shop at Spaldwick in Cambridgeshire after smashing their way in with an axe.

There was a lone male member of staff working at Spaldwick Service Station, and the shop was closed, when the attackers struck at around 3.30am on Monday August 3.

The gang demanded that the member of staff show them where the safe was before making off with cash, alcohol, cigarettes and a slushy machine.

Police said the member of staff had been left “shaken and upset” by the robbery, but was otherwise uninjured.

After the robbery the rear of the shop was covered with a flammable liquid and set on fire.

Firefighters found the shop “well alight” shortly before 4am and fought the blaze for three and a half hours. The shop was gutted, but the fuel pumps were isolated and the forecourt was saved.

The gang is believed to have used a dark Honda 4x4 which was later discovered burnt out in Corby.

Detective sergeant Sarah Sleaford of Cambridgeshire Constabulary said: “We suspect this may have been the vehicle used in the crime, so I would appeal for anyone who saw this vehicle before or after the crime to contact police.

“This was a terrifying experience for the member of staff at the filling station, which was destroyed by the fire.

“I would urge anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to contact me.”

She can be contacted on 101 and information can be given to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.