Police have released an efit of a knifeman who is targeting shoppers in a Sussex town.

The latest incident involved a 16-year-old girl who robbed near a Spar store in St Helens Down, Hastings, on Monday at 6pm. The attack is being linked to two other robberies in the town.

On this occasion the robber demanded the girl’s phone but when she refused he showed her a knife and grabbed her two carrier bags of shopping, dropping a bottle of coke which sprayed everywhere.

On Saturday at 7.30pm in Victoria Avenue the man stole a mobile phone and handbag. Later that day at the junction of Victoria Avenue and The Ridge when he demanded a woman hand over her handbag but she refused.

Detective Sergeant Paul Graham said: “We believe this man is local to the area.

“He is described as white, about 30, slim with short brown or dark hair and about 5' 5" to 5' 9".

“When he approached the girl in the latest robbery he was wearing a black zip up jacket and a black rucksack.

“The girl was obviously shaken by the incident but otherwise unhurt, she is being offered all the support we can give her.

“Although the man showed he had a knife he did not make a direct threat to harm her before he ran off. We are keen to trace him and enquiries are being made to identify the man through forensic opportunities.

“We think the man is linked to two other robberies that took place in the evening near convenience stores, all within a few hundred metres of each other. On each occasion the people had been shopping.”

If you recognise the man or have any information contact police on 101 quoting Operation Zephyr or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.