I thought they were joking says worker
GUN-TOTING masked robbers fired a shot in a terrifying raid at an off-licence.
The bullet whizzed past a frightened shop assistant's head and slammed into a cigarette display.
The 44-year-old was left badly shocked by the raid at Simply Food And Drinks on Church Lane in Newsome at 5.45pm on New Year's Eve.
Assistant manageress Laura Humphries went straight to the shop after the victim phoned to tell her what had happened.
She said: "She had thought they were joking about at first. She thought it was an empty gun.
"The gun was fired and it shot through eight packets of cigarettes and into the wall.
"That was what shocked her, hearing the sound."
Miss Humphries said no similar incidents had taken place at the store.
She said: "It may have happened years ago, but not while we have been here.
"Even then I don't think a weapon had ever been fired.
"It's a bit nerve-racking being here now. I just hope they get who did it."
Detectives have appealed directly today for anyone who can name the gunman to contact them immediately.
They say it is vital he is caught and taken off the streets.
It can also be revealed that the robber who fired the shot was not the one holding the gun when the three raiders walked in.
One stood with the door slightly open so they could make a quick getaway.
The other two demanded cash from the assistant.
When she hesitated, the other robber grabbed the gun from his accomplice and pulled the trigger.
The raiders then put a bag on the counter and the victim put cash in it from the till.
All three thieves then ran from the shop and turned left.
Det Con Dave Kinghorn, of Kirklees CID intelligence unit, said: "Although imitation and fake guns are used by robbers, it is still very rare for one to be fired.
"That is why it is vital that whoever knows who the gunman is to come forward.
"It looks like he became impatient, grabbed the weapon from his accomplice and then fired it."
He said the three thieves wore strange matt black moulded face masks.
"These were unusual masks, so has anyone sold such masks recently or does anyone know who may own them?" said Det Con Kinghorn.
"Did anyone see the thieves escaping after the raid?
"Did they flee on foot or did anyone see them get into a car.
"We need names quickly."
The gun is silver or grey with a six-inch long barrel.
The man who went into the shop with the gun is white, 6ft, of medium build and spoke with a local accent.
He wore a black top and bottoms.
The second man who grabbed it from him and fired is a similar height and build and wore sports-style dark clothes.
The one who guarded the door is also 6ft tall and wore black clothes.
Anyone with information should contact Det Sgt Paul Simm at Kirklees CID's robbery team on 01484 436685 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.