A recently widowed shopkeeper was woken in the middle of the night to discover masked intruders raiding her shop. 

At around 3.50am on December 30 two men approached Handy Stores in Coopersale and kicked the door through. 

They dashed inside, grabbing a lottery ticket machine, cash and cigarettes. 

Hearing the commotion from her flat upstairs, shopkeeper Maya Prathap began screaming in fear. 

As the shop's alarm began to ring the two men fled in the direction of Coopersale Common.

Mrs Prathap said: "Only 15 seconds they were in there and they took £400 of lottery tickets, £100 from the till and £100 of cigarettes.

"With the damage, it will cost about £1,000. 

"My husband passed away recenty, about a year ago, so it is a really difficult time for me.

"I don't want this to happen to other people."

In her 27 years of running the shop this is the first time Mrs Prathap has endured a burglary. 

Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting the incident number 187 of 30/12.