Police are hunting a gang who turned on a Canning Town shopkeeper who chased a man out his store as he tried to steal eggs.

One of their number picked up two trays of eggs from the Hermit Road store without paying. The shopkeeper, who was on his own, chased after him only to be confronted by three of his friends.

The 41-year-old retreated back inside but the four followed him in and subjected him to a “vicious and cowardly attack” One struck him on the head with a bottle. Another tried to hit him with a metal bar but the shopkeeper was able to fend off the blows.

Police want to talk to these four men

The four men, described as Asian and aged between 19 and 24, fled the scene but not before emptying the till of cash and driving off in a black vehicle.

Police have now released CCTV images of the four men who struck about 9pm on October 23, 2016.

PC Jim Hollick, from Newham Borough’s Robbery Task Force, said: “This was a vicious, cowardly attack on a man who was simply doing his job. It is lucky that the victim’s injuries were not more serious.

“We are determined to bring those responsible for this robbery to justice. I would appeal to anyone who recognises any of the men in the CCTV footage, or anyone else with information about the robbery, to contact police as a matter of urgency.”

Anyone with information should contact police via 101 or on Twitter @MetCC

Information can also be given to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org