THREE men have been arrested after an armed robbery in Southampton.

Police were called to the One Stop store in North East Road, Sholing, at 10.34pm on Tuesday.

Three people with their faces covered were reported to have entered the shop before one threatened a staff member with a knife.

The contents of the till were then stolen, along with a "large amount" of cigarettes, before the trio left.

Hampshire Constabulary has confirmed that a 26-year-old man, a 25-year-old man and a 22-year-old man from Southampton have been arrested on suspicion of robbery and are in police custody.

It is currently unknown whether this incident is related to a robbery and burglary appeal released by Hampshire police.

Police have issued a witness appeal after Hampshire convenience stores have been targeted in a spate of robberies and burglaries.

Shops in Southampton, Romsey, North Baddesley, Eastleigh and Totton have all been targeted.

On each occasion a group of three or four people entered the stores with their faces covered, threatened staff and stole cash and a large amount of cigarettes, which they put into large rubble bags.

These crimes tend to be happening at either opening times or early evening, and stolen vehicles are often used.

Detective inspector Colin White said: "We believe the cigarettes being taken are the main objective of this group to sell on and make quick money.

"That would not be happening if those receiving it were not complicit in handling these stolen items and selling them on themselves.

"We are concerned that a few local shops are accepting this stolen stock and selling cigarettes at a usual price or you have noticed they have a large amount on one particular brand and not another.

"We need to know where the products are going.

"Lastly, I want to say that although these robberies are committed against shops, we know that they have a serious impact on members of our community going about their daily work.

"We want to know who is responsible for these crimes."

Anyone with information about where the cigarettes are going or who is involved, is asked to call 101 quoting Operation Assessment, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.