Shop workers in Castleford were threatened with a knife as they fell victim to a rapid-fire crime spree last night.
Attempted robberies took place at three stores in the Airedale area of the town in the space of half an hour.
Detectives say they are treating the offences as linked and today issued an appeal for witnesses and information.
The incidents took place at the Co-op on The Square at about 7.40pm, a service station on Leyland Road at about 7.50pm and Money Save on Fairfield Close at about 8.05pm.
On each occasion a lone suspect entered the store and threatened staff with a knife before fleeing empty-handed after they refused to hand over any money.
The suspect, who was riding a purple mountain bike, is described as white and about 5ft 5in tall.
He was wearing a black balaclava, a black and grey hooded jacket, black gloves and dark tracksuit bottoms with white trainers.
Police say “reassurance patrols” are being carried out in the Airedale area today.
Wakefield CID’s Det Insp Sam Freeman said: “We are investigating this series of attempted robberies which we believe are linked, and would like to speak to anyone who has information or who saw the suspect in the locations at around the times the offences took place.
“We know he was riding a purple mountain bike and it is possible someone will know a person in the local area fitting this description.”
Anyone with information is asked to ring Wakefield CID on 101, quoting log reference 13190085229, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.