Police are hunting a “bungling” burglar involved in three attempted robberies in Gorton, including two at the same shop.
CCTV footage has been released showing the man botching the first of two robberies at the Malthurst service station on Hyde Road.
The man is seen to walk into the shop and threaten the cashier with a meat cleaver as he throws a carrier bag at him and demands that he fill it with cash.
But the cashier refuses to do so and calmly walks into the back office, leaving the robber to wave his weapon in the air before grabbing the carrier bag and leaving with nothing.
The following week the same man did the same thing at B and J Car Spares on Highmead Street and on this occasion the cashier gave him the money.
But the burglar lifted up his balaclava as he left the store before quickly pulling it back down as he realised his mistake. This robbery was not caught on CCTV.
The final robbery again took place at the Malthurst service station, two weeks after it was previously targeted, and the robber met with the same cashier.
This time he appeared to wield a handgun wrapped in a carrier bag but the cashier again refused to comply with his demands and locked himself in the back office.
The man tried to break down the door before stealing cigarettes and some counterfeit cash which he believed was genuine.
Detective Sergeant Alex Wild, of North Manchester CID, said: “The man we are hunting may not look like the most convincing of robbers, but that does not lessen the danger he clearly causes.
“The cashier at the Hyde Road petrol station certainly had the measure of him and he twice failed to get away with any genuine cash [but] the other victim clearly believed this robber’s threats were genuine.
“He is clearly reckless and, given his levels of desperation, someone could get hurt next time.”
The robber is described as white, 20 to 25 years old, about 5ft 6in tall with a slim or medium build, unshaven and he spoke with a Manchester accent.