A KNIFE-point robbery has left a community shocked, frightened and appalled.

Residents and business owners of Hensingham were worried to hear of the robbery, which took place at Bewsher's newsagents on Main Street at around 8pm on Thursday.

Cumbria Police confirmed a man demanded money from a staff member, threatening them with a knife.

He made off from the store with cash, cigarettes and alcohol, and no one was injured during the incident.

Next door, staff of Clipso hairdressers were shaken to think an incident like this could happen in their village.

"I've been here 40-odd years, and never in my life would I have expected it to happen," owner Marie Bell said.

"There are times we've gone home and left the door open we feel that safe – but this will definitely make us a bit more cautious."

She added that regular customers of the off-licence were sad to see the shop closed as police investigated the scene.

Landlord of The Sun Inn, just up the road from Bewsher's, said: "It's a shock – you don't hear of this sort of thing round here.

"[The owners] are such nice people, and it's a real shame that it's happened to them."

Whitehaven town councillor Julie Rayson was also "really shocked", and said: "The shop's been there for such a long time, and the owner is always lovely with the children, and it always felt safe for them to go round there.

"I just don't know what's coming over people at the moment – how they could possibly take from little shops like that, it's just not nice at all."

Locals David Putland and Ian Latter called the incident "terrible", and were filled with sadness and frustration that such an "appalling" event could happen in Hensingham.

"It's wicked and dreadful," Mr Putland, a former teacher at St Benedict's School, said. "We need a bobby on the streets to stop this sort of thing from happening.

"It's a lovely community, and people do care about each other, but this has just made it feel like there's a total lack of care in the community – people are nervous and frightened now."

Mr Latter shared this view, and added: "I've lived here all my life, and it's just terrible.

"A lot of older people live round here, but there's no deterrent for this sort of behaviour – there's no protection."

Police are appealing for witnesses from the area at the time of the incident, or those with dashcam footage.

The offender was described as wearing dark clothing, and carrying a large holdall.

Detective Constable Julie Robinson, West Cumbria crime and safeguarding team, said: "We would like the public's help in identifying the person responsible for this incident.

"This was an extremely distressing situation for the staff member involved.

"We would like to hear from anyone who may have seen a man, matching our description, in the area [that evening].

"Any information, no matter how insignificant a person may deem it, could assist our investigation."

If you have information, contact 101 quoting incident number 192 of February 20, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.