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Essex Police are looking for a group of men following an armed robbery at a supermarket in Ongar.
The offenders, one of which had a shotgun, went into Sainsbury's on Bansons Lane, at about 2.20am this morning (Monday 24th June).
They threatened three members of the night staff, including a woman who was assaulted and suffered a facial injury.
The staff were tied up and locked in a room while the thieves took alcohol and cigarettes.
The injured woman was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow and later allowed home after treatment.
A widespread search by ground units and the police helicopter was carried out but there was no trace of the suspects.
The supermarket was closed this morning while forensic investigations continue.
Any witnesses or anyone who saw any suspicious activity in Ongar at the time of the robbery should contact detectives at Loughton on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.