A man who challenged a knife-wielding robber at a jewellery shop has told how he feared for his safety.

Police are appealing for witnesses after the raider struck at County Jewellers in High Street, Malmesbury, at 9.45am on Friday.

Shop owner Julian Middleton said a man wearing a motorbike helmet crawled into the store before jumping up and threatening a female member of staff with a knife.

A man from a neighbouring shop, who wants to remain anonymous, came in after hearing a scream and challenged the robber.

He said: “I looked him in the eyes and could see he was deciding whether to stab me or run away, and he ran away.”

The suspect fled the scene on a red sports motorbike.

It is not believed anything was stolen during the raid, but the man from the neighbouring shop sustained minor injuries to his hand and the member of staff was shaken by the ordeal.

Police arrived at the scene quickly, and the force helicopter was deployed to help with the search.

PC Graham McLaughlin of the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Policing Team said “Although very unusual in Malmesbury, this was a very traumatic incident for the member of staff in the jewellers.”

Police are linking the incident to a red bike and rider seen in the area prior to the attempted robbery. PC McLaughlin said: “We would like anyone who saw the bike in the area or leaving Malmesbury shortly after 9.45am to contact us.”

Anyone with information should contact the local Neigh-bourhood Policing Team at Malmesbury Police Station or CID at Melksham, by calling Wiltshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

The jewellery store was opened last October by Mr Middleton who wanted to expand after running the business in Royal Wootton Bassett for nine years.

Former mayor Coun Steve Cox attended the opening.

He said: “I was very sad to hear about the robbery. I’ve found the staff very friendly and kind. We want to encourage shops, not give them a hard time.”