Police probing an attempted robbery on a Workington shop have questioned a man as they continue to hunt for a suspect.

Officers said they spoke to a 37-year-old man and released him without further action and urge the public to get in touch if they have any information or dashcam footage of the incident.

The man is described as an adult male who was wearing dark clothing and a mask and carrying a large umbrella. He demanded money from staff in the Costcutter Store in Station Road,Workington on Monday shortly after 4.45pm, before fleeing empty-handed.

Residents, businesses and councillors close to the shop have described the area as a “war zone” and say it is blighted by drug problems and anti-social behaviour.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said: “We’re surrounded by drug problems, people knocking at doors all day and night. It’s disgusting, it’s every single day. Police drive round and they don’t do anything.”

"The other day I went to the shop at 7.50pm and there was a man loitering outside and she shut the door of the shop after me.

"This area is appalling, it's got worse in the last five or six years. It's non-stop now. There's always something going on. I have to shut the children's bedroom windows so that they don't hear shouting and screaming.

"It's not a shock, Bywise was held up not so long ago - he's packed up and retired now."

Another resident, from the same street, described the area as a war zone.

She said: "You're just getting the landlords buying the houses cheaply and housing drug dealers in them.

"When the owner of the shop first moved in someone tried to rob it", she added.

She said she recently had to phone the council up because she found a syringe and she thinks the problem in the area is getting worse.

Businesses close to Costcutters also shared their concern about the incident and that drug problems in the area are escalating.

Aimee Rance, from Belvedere Dental Practice, said: "We use the shop regularly and we want to say we're sorry it's happened to them and it's scary that it's happened so close to us. We want them to know that we support them."

Karl Winthrop, from West Coast Tattoo Studio, said: "Station Road can be a bad area, it seems to be getting worse."

And Douglas Butchart, from PJ Enterprises, who is working in the area, thought the encounter must have been terrible for those in the shop. He said: "It's terrible, and in a small town. Everybody's got to make a living, but you do it honestly."

Workington Town Councillors for the St Michael's Ward have agreed with comments about the area.

Councillor Billy Miskelly said he agrees it is like a war zone and the drugs problem is extremely bad, with residents moving out of the area and vulnerable people that are drug and alcohol dependent moving in. He says he walks around at night to reassure the elderly.

He said: "We've got a lot of houses snapped up from people from out of the area and they are getting filled with vulnerable people, drug and alcohol dependent resulting in other people moving away."

"I have the utmost respect for police, at one stage all PCSO's were diverted to St Michael's but that's finished and one van going through the area does nothing."

He said on a daily basis there are multiple people coming to him with anti-social problems and the community fabric is being eroded in that area, but he is not blaming the alcohol and drug dependent people.

St Michael's ward and Allerdale Councillor Will Wilkinson said: "At times it is like a war zone, we have meetings with police and there is anti-social behaviour I'm shocked there has been an incident like this.

"I suggest that people stop making comments on social media and I urge people to come forward with information. It is an ongoing investigation and we need to find the perpetrators.

"The police work very hard. Residents with any information should come forward so the police can find the people concerned."

St Michael's ward and Allerdale Councillor, Mary Bainbridge, said: "It isn't a very good area at the moment. We've been working with the council and police and I live around the corner from the shop.

"It's quite alarming that it's on the doorsteps to be quite honest. It's alarming especially for older people. There are a lot of drugs and that sparks problems. People are used to seeing police on the streets and drugs being dealt on the street round about.

"It is like a war zone, you don't know when you are going to turn down a street and see police and you don't always know why the police are there."

Owner of Costcutter, Gwen Cox, did not want to give a comment.

Police investigations are ongoing as they continue to appeal for witnesses to the incident.

Detective Constable Julie Robinson, West Cumbria Crime and Safeguarding Team, said: “We would like the public’s help in identifying the person responsible for this incident.

“Fortunately nobody was hurt during this incident and the male left empty-handed. This does not dilute the seriousness of this offence and we would like to hear from anyone who may have seen this man in the area.

“Any information, no matter how insignificant a person may deem it, could assist our inquiries.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting incident number 162 of July 29.

Alternatively information can be given anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.