In this week’s Express

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This week we lead on masked armed robbers who held knives to the throats of terrified shop assistants before stealing thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes.

Also in news:

- Campaigners and councillors in Knottingley staged a protest against plans to close the town’s swimming pool.

- Fire chiefs say tumble dryers and cooking incidents have contributed to a rise in house fires in Pontefract and Knottingley.

- A lorry driver has denied causing the death former St Wilfrid’s Catholic High School Bethany Jones in a crash on the M62 near Pontefract.

- A school which was put into special measures a year ago has been praised for achieving a dramatic turnaround in standards.

- We also have a special feature on money seized from criminals which will be given to community groups and organisations across the district as part of a new scheme.

In sport:

- Castleford coach Daryl Powell hopes a red-hot atmosphere at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle will inspire his team in Thursday night’s home Super League clash against Leeds Rhinos.

- All the latest news from Featherstone Rovers who have announced ‘substantial investment’ in the club and are also looking for a new head coach following the departure of John Bastian.

- Pontefract Squash Club’s James Willstrop helped England retain the European Team Championship Trophy.

- Two pages of junior rugby league match reports and a full round up of cricket, soccer and amateur rugby league reports.

In promotions:

- Schools have a chance to win brand new sports kits.