A LOWER Gornal pub owner was assaulted and tied up during an armed robbery, which resulted in a fire.

Two masked men pushed their way into the Black Bear between 3am and 4am on Sunday after the owner went to investigate a noise at the rear of the Deepdale Lane pub.

One of the men is believed to have threatened him with a gun, while the other was holding a scalpel-like instrument.

The 64-year-old pub boss was assaulted and tied up with wires before being bundled into a cabinet – West Midlands Police have confirmed.

Officers believe the men deliberately turned on a gas hob, which led to paper catching fire before they fled with cash.

The owner, who managed to free himself and alert police, was taken to Russells Hall Hospital for treatment.

Firefighters from Dudley and Brierley Hill tackled the blaze after receiving a 999 call at 4.30am.

A West Midlands Fire Service spokesman confirmed the fire was started deliberately.

Police enquiries are on-going and anyone with information is urged to call 101, quoting 20DY/243750M/17.