Dawn Essex, aged 39, had been alone in One Stop on Dovehouse Parade at 6.15 on Wednesday morning (March 14), when a man held her up at knife-point, demanding the shop’s cash.
Shift manager Beckie Ball, aged 21, who had been out at the back of the store, said: “This guy came in looking a bit shady.
“He went to look at the alcohol where my colleague was. She told him she couldn’t serve him before 8am and he pulled a knife on her.
“He was saying ‘give me the money, give me the cash’ but she told him she didn’t have the key.
“At that point a customer walked in. She was mouthing to them to call the police but they did nothing.
“I heard her going frantically mad on the staff bell. By the time I came out the man had gone and she was just hysterical.”
Police were called and three units arrived to investigate and view the shop’s CCTV footage.
But just five hours later, officers swarmed the area after panicked staff reported seeing the man return to the shopping parade.
An eyewitness said she had seen police chase three men across Warwick Road before catching up with them in a nearby alley.
“I was shocked, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many police,” she added.
However, the force confirmed that staff had made a mistake and no arrests had been made.
The matter is still being investigated.