TWO men arrested in connection with three shop raids are not being linked with a series of gunpoint robberies in the New Forest.

Hampshire police searching for the New Forest gunman were initially considering the possibility that three robberies in Dorset may have been linked. However, they confirmed last night that this has now been ruled out.

The 37-year-old man from Bournemouth and a 49-year-old man of no fixed address are being questioned about robberies at Highcliffe Post Office on December 18, the Co-op in Cranleigh Road, Southbourne, last Saturday night and the Mace store in Highcliffe on Sunday evening.

Officers have so far made several arrests in their bid to find the gunman thought to have carried out two gunpoint robberies last month, against a commuter at Brockenhurst railway station and a couple at their home in Lymington.

No one has yet been charged, but last month a £5,000 reward was put up by Crimestoppers for information leading to a significant arrest.