a masked raider held terrified staff at gunpoint during a supermarket robbery in which he made off with close to €40,000.
The armed raid took place in the early hours of Thursday at the Centra store in Kilcoole, Co Wicklow.
Staff were in the shop stacking shelves for the long bank holiday weekend when at around 3.45am one of them went out the front for a cigarette.
However, as the worker stood outside, a masked assailant appeared and pointed a gun at him.
The thug ordered the terrified worker back into the store and into the main area where his two colleagues were still stacking shelves.
He then pointed the weapon at all three staff and threatened to shoot them while demanding access to the store's cash systems.
The thief also pointed the weapon at the head of a worker during the incident.
He managed to take around €9,000 in cash from the shop's tills and then made his way to an ATM.
It was initially thought that the thief managed to get away with around €17,000 from the machine.
However, detectives now believe the sum is far higher, and estimate that as much as €40,000 in total could have been taken.
It has not yet been established if the raider was working alone or was helped in the robbery, and gardai are not ruling out the possibility that he had an accomplice waiting outside the store during the raid.
Staff at the store declined to comment on the incident when contacted by the Herald.
No arrests have yet been made in connection with the robbery and detectives from Greystones Garda Station are investigating the incident.
The store was the target of a previous robbery in which a large sum of money was taken.
In February 2008 the owner was returning from a bank with a sum money believed to be in the region of €30,000.
When she was taking the money out of her car she was approached by a gunman.
A struggle ensued between the two and a second raider arrived on the scene, forcing the woman to hand over the cash.
The raiders made off in a Blue Subaru Impreza which crashed while making its getaway adjacent to the N11 motorway.
Gardai believe the raiders may have had another vehicle waiting for them.
No one was ever caught in relation to that incident.