A married couple who run a Post Office in Blackpool said they thought it was a joke when one of their regular customers robbed them with a meat cleaver.
Lee and Sue Evans had just opened up the Spar store in Dickson Road when one of their regular customers approached the counter brandishing a meat cleaver.
Sue, 63 and Lee, 64, recognised the young woman at once and said their first thoughts were that it was a bad joke.
Mrs Evans said: "The girl has been coming into our shop for years, she's very quiet but always polite. When she waved the meat cleaver in the air, I really thought she was having us on."
Mr and Mrs Evans said the woman calmly approached the counter and told them to hand over the money from the tills. A young man, believed to be in his teens, stood guard by the entrance to prevent the store's only early morning customer from leaving and raising the alarm.
Mrs Evans said: "She was so calm about it. She just walked in like she always does, but this time she had a meat cleaver in her hands. It's not something I ever expected her to do.
"She wasn't wearing a hoodie or a mask or anything to cover her face. She comes in all the time for bits and bobs so I recognised her straight away. We've never had any trouble with her. We have the regular shoplifters, but she's not one of them. It's completely shocked us."
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The woman, thought to be in her early 20s, began to lose her temper after Mr Evans told her there was not much money in the tills.
She said: "I tried to tell her that the tills can't simply be opened without a transaction, there is a whole process involved in manually opening the tills, and there wasn't much money in there anywhere because we'd just opened.
"But all of a sudden she snapped and brought the meat cleaver down hard on the counter, leaving a big gash. She wanted us to know that she meant business."
Mr Evans attempted to call the police but the woman grabbed him by his collar and "frogmarched" him towards the till at knife point.
"We knew then it was serious. She held the meat cleaver four inches from my husband's neck and kept slamming the blade down on the counter", said Mrs Evans.
She added: "She didn't seem like she was on drugs or anything, she was very calm through the whole thing."
Mr and Mrs Evans have been running the Spar store in Dickson Road for nearly 15 years and have experienced just one robbery ten years ago.
Mrs Evans said the robbery has left both her and her husband "badly shaken", but insisted that they must keep the store open today for their customers.
She said: "We're far too old for all this. My husband turns 65 on Monday. Most people our age are enjoying their retirement now, but we have to keep working to pay the bills.
"Once the police and CID left, we just reopened the shop and carried on. It's just one of those things. People rely on us and we have a lot of regular customers who we don't want to let down. As they say, "the show must go on"".
A police spokesman said: "We were called around 7am today (Friday, November 16) following reports of a robbery at the Spar store in Dickson Road, Blackpool.
"A man and woman are believed to have entered the store and stolen cash before making off from the scene.
"No-one was injured and no arrests have been made. Enquiries are on-going."
Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting log 0239 of November 16.