THIS is the dramatic moment when a knife-wielding robber vaulted the counter at a Southampton bookmakers before making off with hundreds of pounds.

Holding a blade in his right hand, the hooded thief leapt towards terrified staff and ransacked the till in Ladbrokes on Millbrook Road West.

Police have now taken the step of releasing CCTV pictures of the frightening scenario, which unfolded at around 5pm on Friday.

It appears to show a female accomplice holding the door open and keeping watch shortly before the pair made off towards King George's Avenue.

Detective Constable Owain Davies, of Shirley CID, said around £600 was stolen during the raid and that staff had been left shaken by the ordeal.

"This was a rare but serious incident involving a knife. No one was injured but it has left staff very shocked," he said.

The male suspect is described as white, aged between 20 and 25, 5ft 10in with a medium build.

He was clean shaven with a clear complexion and was wearing Timberland or Rockport style boots, dark trousers, a black duffle coat with toggles and a light hooded top underneath.

The female suspect is described as aged between 18 and 25 with a large build. She was wearing white trainers, dark tracksuit bottoms and a light blue or light green hooded top.

Police are also keen to speak to the other man in the CCTV picture who is seen as a key witness to the robbery.

Witnesses or anyone with any other information should contact Shirley CID on 0845 045 4545 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

A 27-year old man had been bailed pending further enquiries.