THIS armed thug looked directly into a CCTV camera as he held up a 99p store.

The foolhardy thief was one of two men who invaded the shop in Furtherwick Road, Canvey, at about 5.15pm on December 14. One was armed with a machete and the other a screwdriver.

After entering the store, they turned left and went upstairs into the staff-only area, where they told the two employees there to open the safe and a four figure sum of cash was handed over.

One staff member tried to prevent the men leaving by using their bodyweight against the staff door but they managed to get through and left the store.

Investigating officer Dc Jon Holden, said: "I’m asking for the help of the public to trace the armed robbers that struck at the 99p store so we can be put before the courts.

"I’d really urge people to take a close look at the CCTV and call police if they have any information that could help our investigation.”

The first man is described as 5ft 8ins tall, with blue eyes, and spoke with a London accent. He was about 27 to 30 years old wearing a black jacket, dark blue Adidas tracksuit bottoms with white stripes down the side, white trainers, and a grey top with a cartoon on the front. He was wearing a mask.

The second was about 19 to 20 years old, skinny, and about 5ft 7ins tall. He was wearing a mask, blue jeans, black puma trainers, and a white and a black jacket.

It is worth noting that in the last image the light from the CCTV camera causes the coat to look light blue with a black zip where in fact it’s a black coat with a white zip.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Southend CID on 101. Alternatively, call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.