A GUNMAN is being hunted after staging an armed robbery at a bookmakers during a daytime raid.

The manager of Coral, in Broadway, Old Amersham, was held at gunpoint during the incident, which took place at about 5.50pm on Saturday.

Ashwin Patel, who owns Broadway Newsagents, which neighbours the bookmakers, said: "It is very shocking. It happened a couple of years ago at the same place but not with a gun.

"This is the first time that I heard one of the shops being held up at gunpoint in Old Amersham and I have been here 20 years."

DC Nick Brown, of Amersham CID, said an armed raid was unusual event in Old Amersham. He said: "This was a frightening incident for the manager."

The gunman waited until the last punter had left the shop before drawing his gun, forcing the manager to open the till and demanding a "substantial" but undisclosed amount of money.

He then filled a plastic bag with cash before calmly leaving the shop, walking across the Broadway towards St Mary's Close, a private road.

Detectives thought the man made his getaway into the Dovecote car park or along the footpath towards Rectory Lane.

The manager was unharmed after the raid and a spokesman for Coral bookmakers said: "Our member of staff was not physically hurt but was obviously shaken after the incident and is now back at work.

"Police have been notified and they have a pretty good description of the man."

Since the raid, Coral has ensured there are at least two members of staff in the shop so no-one is left alone.

Shopkeepers and punters in the bookmakers have expressed their shock that the shop manager was threatened with a gun.

Mr Patel left the bookmakers after he had run out of luck on one of the shop's gambling machines and believes the man was in the shop waiting for everyone to leave.

He said: "I think he was definitely in there at the time. You have regulars in there but you also get a few passers-by coming in.

"When I go in the shop now I will probably look to see if there is anyone strange."

Police said the gunman is white, in his 40s, 5ft 9in, with a slightly muscular build. He has very short hair and is clean-shaven. He looked slightly sunburned and wore gold rimless sunglasses, a grey t-shirt and brown Hush Puppy-style shoes.

Anyone with any information should contact DC Nick Brown at Amersham CID on 01494 686145 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111