Staff at a Paisley bookmakers were subjected to a terrifying ordeal by armed robbers who threatened them with a gun.
The 37-year-old manager and a 21-year-old woman were working at the William Hill shop in Old Sneddon Street when two thugs burst in and ordered them to hand over the takings.
One of the men appeared to be armed with a firearm and they managed to flee the scene with a three-figure sum of cash.
It is the second time in just over a month that a betting shop in Paisley town centre has been targeted by armed robbers.
Cops are now probing a possible link to a hold-up at a bookies in nearby Moss Street last month, as well as another armed robbery at a corner shop in Johnstone just over a week ago.
The latest raid took place at the William Hill shop at around 7.20pm on Monday.
During a frightening ordeal that lasted for 10 minutes, staff were threatened by the masked thugs.
Police said the robbers then fled the scene, running along Moss Street, in the direction of High Street.
One of the crooks was nearly hit by a passing car while making his getaway.
Detective Sergeant Gordon McCrae, of Paisley Police Office, said: “This was a very frightening experience for the members of staff in the shop and I’d like to reassure the local community that we are doing everything in our power to catch the men responsible.
“Officers are carrying out door-to-door enquiries and examining CCTV footage.
“We’re particularly keen to speak to a driver who was forced to slam on the brakes after one of the men ran in front of their car on Moss Street.
“That happened at around 7.30pm – 10 minutes after the robbery.
“I would appeal to people to get in touch with us. Any information could prove vital.”
No shots were fired during the robbery but both members of staff were left badly shaken.
The suspects – who were spotted hanging around under the railway bridge in Moss Street shortly before the robbery – are both described as around 5ft 9ins tall and of medium build.
They were wearing dark clothing and had their faces covered.
Last night, cops admitted there are similarities between the William Hill hold-up and the robberies which took place at the Betfred bookies, in Moss Street, on September 14 and at the Keystore, in Ness Avenue, Johnstone, on October 6.
In all three raids, two suspects were involved and made off on foot with a three-figure sum after threatening staff.
DS McCrae said: “In terms of connecting this robbery to other incidents in recent weeks, we are keeping an open mind.“We are aware of the similarities, especially when it comes to the weapons used and the manner in which the robberies were carried out.”
No-one at the William Hill shop was available for comment yesterday.
Anyone who has information is asked to call Paisley CID on 0141 532 5900 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.