A KNIFE wielding robber escaped with a fistful of cash after holding up a betting shop.

The man leapt over the counter of the store as staff tried to close up for the day.

He had threatened the man and the woman and demanded money was handed over from the safe and tills before jumping back over the counter and running out.

The thief, wearing a distinctive grey hoody and covering his face below the eyes with a scarf, managed to escape with approximately £1,000 in cash.

Bosses of the Association of British Bookmakers have today offered a £10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the thief.

The robbery took place while one member of the public was inside Ladbrokes in St Mary Street, Southampton, but fortunately nobody was hurt.

It is the second time the bookmakers has been targeted in the past five months.

In December last year a 19-year-old worker suffered minor injuries after robbers burst in as he tried to lock up.

The victim was punched by a man wearing a hooded top while the second man stole £200 during the robbery on Wednesday, December 19.

Detectives are appealing for information following the raid shortly after 9pm last Friday.

They are particularly keen to hear from anyone who may recognise the robber who is described as black, about 6ft, of slim build and wearing dark jeans or trousers.

Detective Paul Lancaster said: "I appeal to anyone who recognises the suspect from the CCTV image to contact Shirley CID.

"No one was injured but the incident has left staff very shocked.

"I would also like to speak to anyone who was in the St Mary Street area either shortly before or after the incident as they may hold vital information that could help trace the offender and bring him to justice."

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