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Staff at a Total site have been praised after they foiled a robber who was armed with a hammer. The thug had to flee empty handed when the staff of Hatton Service Station saw him coming across the forecourt and activated the security system.

Console operators Sammie Holland and Aaron Swindells were working when the attempted robbery took place. Sammie was taking out the rubbish when she saw the robber approaching from Mainway East. She fled inside and told her colleague to activate the shot screen, which prevented the man from accessing the till area. The pair then sought refuge behind the screen, leaving the robber no choice but to leave.

The failed attempt comes after two robberies in the space of two months at the end of last year.

Total chiefs offered a £10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of any perpetrators and have since taken extra measures to ensure staff safety. Site staff have also been given training on how to react in dangerous situations.

Kate Munro, from Total, said the Greengate staff would be rewarded with £200 for their bravery.

"We are extremely proud of our staff for their outstanding courage in a potentially dangerous situation.We hope that wannabe thieves take this as a warning that Total does not tolerate crime of any kind, and that our staff are prepared to go the extra mile to protect customers and themselves."