THREE armed men wearing balaclavas confronted staff who were opening up the Co-op Texaco service station on the A449 in Penkridge early on Easter Sunday.
Staff were forced into a back store room at knife point while the thieves stole a large quantity of cash and cigarettes before fleeing the scene.
The shop workers raised the alarm and local police carried out an immediate search. No-one was injured but staff were left in a state of shock, say police.
Local Police Team Commander - Inspector Geoff Knight said: "Penkridge has always been a very safe area to live and work and I am sure the local residents will be appalled by this incident. We had a spate of this type of crime at the end of last summer across South Staffordshire and we carried out a very successful policing operation together with colleagues from the West Midlands which put an end to it.
"We will again be increasing our patrol activity including some tried and tested strategies to target these offenders and bring them to justice. Local Officers will be on patrol and local residents are urged to speak to the neighbourhood team if they have any concerns they wish to discuss.
"If anyone has any information or saw anything locally at the relevant time and wishes to speak to a local officer please dial 101 and ask for Sgt Nigel Braun from the South Staffs Neighbourhood Action Team. Alternatively anonymous information can be passed to crime stoppers on 0800 555 111"