MASKED robbers armed with a gun and a metal bar attacked workers in a burger van and stole hundreds of pounds.

The armed thugs raided the food truck in Ashlyns, Pitsea, shortly before 12.30am yesterday morning, Wednesday September 18.

The two men, who had their faces covered with scarves, forced their way into the burger van by the back door and threatened the workers with what was described by the victims as a gun.

The men hit one of the workers with a metal bar, injuring him, before they fled with hundreds of pounds in cash.

Essex Police are now investigating the incident and have issued a description of the men involved, who they would like to track down.

Both men were described as being white, around 5 foot 10 inches tall and wearing dark clothing.

Witnesses reported the police helicopter being launched in the middle of the night in a bid to trace the suspects, but they are still at large.

The person who was struck with a metal bar was taken to hospital for treatment for injuries but the extent and nature of these injuries have not been disclosed by Essex Police.

The incident has shocked the community.

Gail Sullivan, 35, who lives in Ashlyns, said: “I can’t believe people are now carrying guns around and doing this kind of thing.

“First all you hear about is knives and now things are just getting worse.

“I’ve never used a burger van in this road but no one deserves to have this happen to them when they are at work.

“It’s just awful. I hope whoever did this is found and brought to justice.”

Sally Ware, who works in the area, said: “Absolute shame on anyone who does something like this.

“What is the world coming to when you have this happening in the community?”

Detectives would like to hear from anyone who may have CCTV or who may have been in the area at the time of the incident.

If you have information, or you saw or heard anything suspicious, please call Basildon CID on 101 quoting crime reference number 42/149211/19.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call indepenent crimefighting charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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NB Essex Police previously told the Echo a "four-figure sum of cash" was stolen. They have since issued a correction and stated it was a "three-figure sum of cash".