A VIOLENT criminal may have struck twice in a matter of days after a second knife-point robbery over the weekend The Co-op store, in Moredon Road, was targeted by a man who is believed to be the same one who carried out a similar robbery at the McDonald’s restaurant on Great Western Way in the early hours of Friday.

During Sunday’s incident, the man walked into the shop shortly after 9pm and brandished a knife which he used to threaten staff.

He then jumped over the counter, took the money drawer from the till containing approximately £600, before running off down Church Walk South and then through the adjoining alleyways.

A passer-by gave chase but lost sight of him on Cheney Manor Road.

The suspect is described as a white man, in his late 20s wearing a black jacket, yellow trousers and blue and white trainers.

It is possible that members of the public may have seen the suspect outside the store, loitering around for up to 15 minutes before the incident.

The franchisee of McDonald’s, Paul Booth, confirmed that staff have been receiving help following the attack.

He said: “My restaurant team and I are offering our full support to those staff members affected by the shock of the incident and we are co-operating fully with the police in their inquiries. “In instances such as this, the safety of our customers and employees is our top priority.”

A Midcounties Co-operative spokesman said: “As this is an ongoing police investigation we cannot currently comment on the incident.”

These robberies follow another stabbing, over the bank holiday weekend when an 18-year-old was stabbed in the head four times following a heated argument. It is not linked to the other two events but has led to concerns knife crime in Swindon is rising.

Superintendent Andrew Carr, of Wiltshire Police said: “We would reassure the public that knife-related crimes in Swindon are very rare. When they do occur we conduct a robust investigation as well as providing support to the victims, “Our neighbourhood policing teams are visiting a number of shops that would be considered vulnerable at this time to warn them of the dangers.

“Until this suspect has been arrested we would ask all shops to remain vigilant and train their staff how to react correctly. We would ask that people do not tackle the suspect and leave that to us.”

Anyone with information on either of the two incidents is asked to contact Wiltshire Police immediately on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.