A petrol station cashier is recovering today after being attacked by a robber during an early morning raid.

The man was hit over the head with a weighted sock as he opened the till at the Shell station on the A259 Rustington bypass at Littlehampton. He was on his own in the shop at the time of the incident, 2.10am yesterday.

The raider stood close to the cashier when the till was opened and struck immediately. He demanded cash and cigarettes, and when they were handed over he ran out of the store.

The cashier raised the alarm and ran after the robber but the man had gone. The cashier suffered a cut to the head but was otherwise uninjured.

The robber was fair-haired with a fair complexion, in his early twenties, of medium build and about 5ft 10in tall. He had a southern accent. Apolice spokesman said officers were investigating the possibility the incident might be linked to a spate of robberies and attempted robberies throughout the region in the past few months.

He said: "There have been a quite a number of cases across this area but they have mainly been concentrated on convenience stores or off-licences. We are either dealing with a lot of individuals carrying out copycat incidents or just a handful of people are involved instead."

Previous incidents have included raids at the Thresher off-licence in Broadwater Road, Worthing, the Alldays store in the same road and Victoria Wine in Angmering.

Anyone with information about the latest raid is asked to contact the Incident Management Centre at Worthing police station on 0845 60 70 999.

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