BRAVE staff who came face-to-face with a knife-wielding thug say they will not let the terrifying ordeal dampen their spirits.

The manager of Simply Food and Drinks in Prenton has praised two of her shop assistants for their courage after a kitchen knife was pulled on them as they organised the newspapers on Wednesday night.

Sharron Woods, aged 43, and 18-year-old Kayleigh Prince had been behind the counter when the thug entered the Wellington Road store just before 9pm.

The offender, who covered his face with a scarf, brazenly walked in the store armed with the blade before threatening the two women and “calmly demanding” they handed over the contents of the till.

Manager Debbie Parsons - who had rushed to the convenience store after receiving a phone call at home about the armed robbery – told the Globe: “The bloke just came in and casually asked them for the money out of the till – he got away with very little cash and just a handful of ciggies.

“There was a police officer already on the scene when I arrived and the girls were obviously shaken up – they did everything that was asked of them.”

Debbie, who described the store as being “at the heart of the community”, said she had been amazed with how well her staff had dealt with their ordeal.

She added: “I don’t want it to break the momentum in the shop, we’re just trying to stay as normal as possible.

“It’s a community shop and the staff have been amazing – they’ve really pulled together but I wouldn’t have expected anything else.

“Kayleigh is only 18 and has only worked here for two weeks, it was quite a shock for her but she has been absolutely amazing.

“To be honest, they both have – they were back in work straight away and haven’t taken any time off.

“These girls are only coming in to earn a wage and no one deserves to go through that.”

Debbie added: “We are not going to let this man dampen our spirits – it will not stop the momentum of the shop.”

Detectives are now appealing to trace the armed robber, with CCTV from the area being located and reviewed.

The raider was wearing a dark blue hooded top, black coat and a black scarf covering his mouth.

He is also thought to have been carrying a large "Sports Direct" branded bag.

Detective Inspector Mark Tivendale of Wirral CID, said: "This offender has brazenly walked into the shop armed with a knife and threatened two women working there.

"No-one should have to face an ordeal like this whilst they are trying to earn a living and I want to reassure the local community in Prenton that we are doing everything we can to arrest the person responsible.

"I'd appeal to anyone who witnessed the incident, or recognises the description of the offender, to get in touch."

Anyone with information should call Wirral CID on 0151 777 2265 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.