A SHOP assistant bravely fought off two thieves who repeatedly attacked her with an iron bar during a terrifying attempted robbery in Bury.

The 64-year-old woman was working at the Tan Tan salon on Heywood Road in Prestwich at about 2.15pm on Monday when the armed criminals struck.

Replete with an iron bar, the duo approached the counter and threatened the woman, demanding her jewellery.

When she refused, one of the intruders went to strike her in the head with the weapon, and she only managed to prevent being struck in the face by bringing her arm above her face to protect herself.

Undeterred, her attacker struck the woman four more times in the arm with the bar but she courageously stood her ground and managed to activate the shop's personal alarm, causing the offenders to flee empty-handed.

It is believed the two men escaped on motorbikes.

One of the offenders is described as being white, of a slim build, about 5ft 9in tall and wearing a black cycling jacket and a motorcycle crash helmet with blue flames on.

Police are now appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

Police Constable Adam Gosling said: "I firstly want to applaud the sheer courage in the face of such danger and violence that this woman showed.

"Thankfully, the majority of people will never have to face such violence in their workplace and it would be impossible to imagine what was going through this woman's head as she was repeatedly attacked with a metal bar.

"However, she bravely stood her ground, absorbed the blows and managed to activate the alarm which caused these two cowards to flee empty-handed.

"Given the ferocity which with she was struck it is very fortunate she was not more seriously injured but let us be clear, this is more by chance than design and clearly the violent intent these two men displayed could have left this woman with very nasty injuries.

"We therefore need to reward her tenacity by giving her the justice she deserves, and we can only do that by finding these two men and locking them up.

"I would therefore appeal to anyone with information to come forward.

"One of the men was wearing a very distinctive motorcycle crash helmet so I would appeal to anyone who sees this man to come forward.

"In Bury, Greater Manchester Police work very hard alongside local shops to protect shopkeepers and shopworkers and it is very saddening when these people, who are the lifeblood of our community, are targeted.

"But by finding the culprits and exposing them we can send a message that such violence will be met with a prison term."

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 9594 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.