AN ARMED robber held up a busy betting shop in Greenock yesterday afternoon and made off with cash.

Shocked customers looked on as the masked man burst in to the Betfred shop on East Crawford Street.

He jumped the counter and pointed a concealed weapon in a bag at a member of staff and demanded money.

A brave customer gave chase to the culprit as he fled the scene.

It comes only days after a shop around the corner in nearby Belville Street was also targeted.

Detective Inspector David Wagstaff of Greenock CID said: "There was a robbery in a nearby shop a few days ago so this is one line of enquiry and we are keeping an open mind on this.

"This appears to be a local man.

"Again we are keeping open-minded, but we would urge anyone in the local community who knows anything to contact us as a matter of urgency."

The robbery took place at around 2pm, with the masked man described as in his late 20s to early 30s.

DI Wagstaff added: "Members of staff and customers were in the shop and the man vaulted the counter.

"He presented something in a bag and pointed it, then demanded money.

"A quantity of cash was then handed over.

"He ran off and a customer gave chase before losing him.

"The police were called and we swamped the area."

The suspect ran off along Barnhill Street and is said to have dumped clothes in a lane.

He was wearing a black Nike jumper, black jogging trousers, black and white trainers and gloves.

Detective Inspector Wagstaff added: "We are carrying out forensics.

"We know that there were workmen around at the time, but we are looking for anyone else in the area at the time with information - anyone who may have seen him running off from the lane.

"It was raining at the time."

The U Save Store in Belville Street was targeted on Saturday afternoon, with a robber holding a member of staff at gunpoint and a quantity of cash was taken.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Greenock CID on 101.