POLICE are hunting a crowbar-wielding gang who have carried out at least three armed robberies across Hampshire in less than a week.

The raiders have struck in Totton, Stoney Cross and Nursling, stealing cash and cigarettes and well as taking CCTV hard drives in a bid to cover their tracks.

The first robbery occurred at the services on the westbound carriageway of the A31 at Stoney Cross last Friday.

As reported in the Daily Echo, the gang forced the rear door of the shop and attacked a member of staff with a crowbar.

He was taken to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and treated for a head wound.

Yesterday it emerged that the same gang also carried out a series of crimes at Basingstoke, Totton and Nursling in the early hours of Monday.

During an unsuccessful attempt to break into the Sainsbury’s petrol filling station at Wallop Drive in Hatch Green, Basingstoke, they attacked a man who intervened, stealing his mobile phone and assaulting him with a crowbar.

Less than two hours later three men targeted a petrol station kiosk in Maynard Road in Totton, threatening staff and stealing cigarettes.

Just before 6am two female employees at the Co-op store in Nursling Street, Nursling, were confronted by four masked men who threatened them with crowbars.

No-one was hurt, but the men made off with £5,000 in cash and cigarettes worth £12,000.

The gang also stole CCTV hard drives during the robberies at Stoney Cross and Nursling.

Detective Sergeant Anton Gaita said: “This was an attempt to remove and destroy evidence but there is still opportunity for us to find it.

“I’m appealing to anyone who lives or works near these premises to look out for any discarded electrical items.

“CCTV hard drives look like any other computer hard drive so I would urge anyone who sees something like this, dumped somewhere unusual, to get in contact with us.”

The Nursling store, which includes a small post office, is part of a parade of shops almost opposite the junction of Nursling Street and Winfrith Way.

The two members of staff on duty at the time have told police that the raiders were white men aged in their twenties.

Yesterday employees at the shop declined to discuss the robbery.

Anyone with information about any of the incidents is asked to ring Hampshire police on 101 and quote the following reference numbers: 44180061633 (Stoney Cross), 44180065406 (Hatch Warren), 44180065404 (Totton) and 44180065463 (Nursling).

Meanwhile, police have released CCTV images of two men they want to trace in connection with robberies at two convenience stores in Freemantle and Shirley last Sunday.

To view the images go online and visit dailyecho.co.uk.