POLICE are hunting a crowbar-wielding gang who have carried out at least three armed robberies in less than a week.

Three men forced their way through the rear door of the service shop at Stoney Cross services on the westbound A31 at 4.25am on Friday, February 16.

The staff members were threatened, and one was assaulted with a crowbar.

He received treatment for a head wound at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

Police say cash is believed to have been stolen from the till.

A driver making morning deliveries is thought to have disturbed the men.

They ran across the dual carriageway to a layby on the eastbound side, directly opposite the services.

CCTV hard drives from the service shop were also stolen.

A similar incident occurred at the Co-op store in Nursling in which four masked raiders entered the store and threatened members of staff with crowbars.

No-one was hurt, but the men left the store with around £5,000 in cash and £12,000 worth of cigarettes. The CCTV hard drives were also stolen.

Police are now linking four incidents that have taken place across Hampshire.

The incidents took place in Stoney Cross, Nursling, Basingstoke and Totton between February 16 and 19.

Detective Sergeant Anton Gaita said: “This is an attempt to remove and destroy evidence, but there is still opportunity for us to find it.

“I’m appealing to anyone who lives or works near these premises to look out for any discarded electrical items. CCTV hard drives look like any other computer hard drive, so I would urge anyone who sees something like this, dumped somewhere unusual, to get in contact with us.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting 44180061633.