AN armed robber locked shop staff in an office before stealing £6,000 and fleeing on foot.

A knifeman entered the Co-op in Passfield Avenue, Eastleigh shortly after 12am yesterday.

Police said he locked staff in an office after the safe was opened.

A spokesperson for Hampshire police confirmed that a bag containing £6,000 was recovered and a 32-year-old man from Chandler’s Ford was arrested on suspicion of robbery at 12.25am.

When asked how many people were locked in the office, the force spokesperson said three members of staff were present when officers arrived to the scene and no-one was injured.

Eastleigh residents said the news came as a shock.

A resident who lives nearby but did not want to be named said: “It’s very concerning. It’s a shock for the Eastleigh community.This is a very quite area although the road is very busy.”

Residents who live in Passfield Avenue said they did not hear any “unusual noise” nor sirens.

Roy Coomber, 89, retired, lives only few meters away from the Co-op.

He said: “I didn’t hear anything about it, it was quite late. It’s concerning.”

The store reopened yesterday.

A spokesperson for the Co-op said: “Colleagues are being fully supported and we would like to thank the police for speed of their response.”

Eastleigh councillor Darshan Mann is now calling for more officers in the area.

He said: “It’s a residential area and it’s worrying for the local people. There should be more police presence, I don’t think there are enough police officers. We are always asking for more officers. I will discuss the issue with other councillors and see what can be done.”

A spokesperson for Hampshire police said: “We prioritise resources according to threat, risk and harm based on an assessment of the incident that has occurred.

"On this occasion the suspect was apprehended in under 20 minutes and the stolen property was recovered.”