MASKED raiders threatened to kill a pub landlord before making off with thousands of pounds worth of takings.

James and Gill Trew, who run the Hope and Anchor in Buckley, were woken by a loud bang shortly before 6am yesterday.

The couple, who have run the pub in Ewloe Place for 18 months, were terrified when they looked out of the window and saw a man in a balaclava.

Mr Trew, 45, went downstairs to investigate and was confronted by another masked man dressed in black, who was rifling through the till.

Mrs Trew, 48, said: “He ran downstairs and shouted to me ‘they’re in, phone the police’. I phoned 999, but I could hear something being said downstairs.

“He said to my husband ‘take one step closer and I will kill you’. James just froze and the man shot across the pub and out of the window.

“You just don’t know if these people will carry out what they say.”

While the couple had been sleeping the thieves had crept upstairs through the living quarters and into the office where they stole the past week’s takings – a total of £4,500.

Cartons of cigarettes worth £450 were also stolen from behind the bar.

Mrs Trew added: “They walked past our bedroom and into the office – it’s really creepy.

“We didn’t hear anything – they must have been really quiet because I’m such a light sleeper.”

Less than an hour earlier Mrs Trew had been downstairs to get a drink.

She added: “If it had been half-an-hour earlier, it could have been me. I could have got a wallop on the head or anything.

“I’m feeling quite shaken up about it. When I went into the office I had to walk out again. I feel violated, it doesn’t feel like home anymore.”

The couple believe there were four men involved and the gang forced their way in through a downstairs window.

Two of Mrs Drew’s handbags were also discovered emptied out on the flat roof outside, but fortunately her credit cards and personal items were not in the bags.

The pub was open for business yesterday, but the couple are now counting the cost of the stolen takings.

Mrs Trew added: “We are open as usual because we have got to try and claw a bit of this money back. We are trying to make arrangements to pay people and pay wages.

“It’s a hard enough industry to be in at the moment without this.”

Mr Trew said the man he confronted was white, spoke with a Liverpool accent and was about 6ft tall.

Forensic investigators were at the pub yesterday.

Police say the gang were not armed, but are appealing for witnesses.

Anybody with information should call North Wales Police on 101 or CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Following the incident the owners are stepping up security by installing CCTV and a burglar alarm.