Armed raiders struck at two service stations on Tyneside within five minutes, snatching cash and terrifying staff.
The BP garage at Denton Burn in Newcastle was the first to be targeted at around 10.15pm on Tuesday night, by two men brandishing a gun.
They used it to threaten a male and female cashier, seizing a small amount of money and then fleeing through the rear exit to a waiting blue or green car.
The workers were left shaken by the confrontation, but were otherwise unhurt.
Just five minutes later, the same pair are believed to have raided Clumber Services, a privately-owned BP franchise at nearby Scotswood Road.
They approached the night hatch and then pulled the gun on a female attendant.
She managed to activate the panic alarm after being forced to hand over a small quantity of cash.
The pair made their getaway in a dark-coloured Honda Civic, which was later found burned out at nearby Cross Parade in Elswick.
The suspects are described as being white and in their late teens to early twenties. One is said to be over six feet tall.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said last night: "Periodically there are robberies, but we are unaware of any trend developing. Armed robbery is still very rare in this area, and it is extremely important to bring those responsible to justice as quickly as possible."
The incidents come after a spate of other armed robberies in the region.
Just after Christmas, a masked raider threatened a shop worker at Gosforth Fine Foods, in Carrfield Road, Kenton, Newcastle, and demanded cash.
The robber ran off empty-handed when the woman refused to give him any money.
Incidents last month included raiders armed with a baseball bat and a crowbar threatening staff at the Trent House pub on Leazes Lane in Newcastle.
They made off in a dark car with an undisclosed amount of cash.
In Gateshead, a knifeman escaped with cash after threatening staff at Drinks Express on Durham Road, Low Fell.