This is the first picture of a "Bonnie and Clyde" crime couple in action during one of seven armed raids on stores in Brighton.

Police released the photograph yesterday as they stepped up the hunt for the fugitives.

The masked couple were filmed by a security camera as they were about to flee an off-licence.

The man has a gun and the woman is holding a bag stuffed with cash from a till. Police say shop staff and members of the public should not tackle the couple.

Detective Inspector Russ Bagley said: "These two are extremely dangerous and must not be approached.

"In each of the robberies they have been calm and collected and that makes me more concerned they might be prepared to use violence."

Police have warned off-licences and service stations in the Brighton and Hove area to be on guard.

Police involved in the hunt, Operation Whirlwind, have offered a £1,000 reward for information leading to the pair's arrest and conviction.

The woman has long, brown hair and wears a scarf and variety of hats.

Her older accomplice normally wears a woolly hat, pulled down. They have taken turns at demanding money but it is usually the man who holds the gun.

The pair usually strike just before closing time but appear unconcerned whether customers are inside.

The pair's four-month crime spree has netted hundreds of pounds, which police believe has been spent on feeding their drugs habits.

Their targets have been off-licences but they switched on Sunday to a service station in Woodingdean, Brighton.

They fled from there empty-handed when alarms were triggered.

City centre off-licences gave the couple several routes of escape but the Falmer Road service station was different.

No shots have been fired in any of the raids and no violence has been used.

One victim, the deputy manageress at Unwins in Preston Road, Brighton, said: "They came in and pointed the gun at my colleague.

"We had to assumed the gun was real - you just don't take chances."

Robberies linked to the couple are: November 3 - Mulberry Wines, Bristol Road, Brighton; December 6 - Victoria Wines, The Drove, Brighton; January 14 - Mulberry Wines, Sutherland Road, Brighton; January 28 - Unwins, Preston Road, Brighton; February 4 - Mulberry Wines, Hangleton Way, Hove; February 15 - Unwins, Sackville Road, Hove; February 18 - Woodingdean service station, Falmer Road, Brighton.

Anyone with information should call members of the Operation Whirlwind team at Brighton CID on 0845 6070999 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555111.