Four members of staff were closing up at the Booker wholesale in Southdown View Road, around 5.30pm on Thursday, December 23, when they were approached by two masked men in possession of firearms, according to Sussex Police.
Police said the men 'detained the staff' and 'started to load bulk quantities of cigarettes into a white Mercedes panel van'.
However, the armed robbers were disturbed by police and made off from the scene on foot, 'leaving their vehicle and the stolen goods behind'.
Detectives have launched an appeal for witnesses today (Thursday, January 6).
A police spokesperson said: "The first suspect is described as 5ft 11in, of skinny build, wearing a black balaclava, dark coloured top, black shiny tracksuit bottoms and black trainers in a knitted fabric with a white letter on the side and white soles.
"The second suspect is described as 5ft 11in, of skinny build, wearing a white or cream face covering, a light grey hoody pulled tight around his face with a drawer cord, dark coloured trousers or jeans in a tight fit, and white high-top trainers."
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Tom Hawkins, of Worthing CID, said the members of staff were 'understandably shaken' by the incident but were 'thankfully unhurt'.
He added: "Despite an extensive area search, there was no trace of the suspects and we are now appealing for the public’s assistance.
"If you saw what happened or have any information about the incident, please come forward."
You can report information online or call 101, quoting Operation Barnstable.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.
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