Masked gang in axe terror raid at bank

Police outside the Santander Bank in Lytham after the robbery. Below: Josh Smith (left) and Joshua Reid.
Police outside the Santander Bank in Lytham after the robbery. Below: Josh Smith (left) and Joshua Reid.

Witnesses today described the terrifying moment an axe-wielding gang robbed two security guards outside a bank.

The victims, who work for security firm G4S, were walking out of the Santander bank, in Clifton Street, Lytham, with cash following a pick-up when the four-strong masked gang – armed with axes and sledgehammers – struck.

Josh Smith (left) and Joshua Reid

Josh Smith (left) and Joshua Reid

The main glass door of the bank was smashed and the gang threatened the two guards with the weapons as they left the bank at around 8.20pm yesterday.

They stole cash before speeding off in a silver Ford Focus, which was later recovered nearby. It is yet not clear how much money has been stolen.

Josh Smith and Joshua Reid, who work in the Tesco store opposite the bank, today told how they heard screams from members of the public as the robbery unfolded.

Mr Reid, 25, a team leader at the store, said: “I was in the shop and a man ran in shouting, ‘There’s been a robbery’.

“I phoned the police and as I went outside I saw a man in a high-vis jacket running into the bank.

“I thought he was a policeman but when he turned round he was wearing a balaclava and he jumped into the car.

“Another one had a sledgehammer in his hand.

“I thought they might come over here because they seemed quite menacing and when I saw them running around I just wanted to get the police here as quickly as possible.”

Mr Smith, 21, added: “When I was outside the shop there was a woman screaming and crying.

“I saw a guy with a sledgehammer come running out of the bank then the driver hit the horn and someone else ran out with some cases.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen something like this happen so it’s quite scary.”

The two male guards suffered minor injuries in the incident but were able to give witness statements to police.

It is the second time the branch has been targeted this year. It was hit by armed robbers back in March.

The bank was taped off as emergency services including four police cars and an ambulance arrived at the scene. Crime scene investigators could, last night, be seen taking photographs at the bank.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We were called to the scene of a cash in transit robbery at 8.20pm.

“Four men were involved and we have recovered a silver Ford Focus. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.”

Follow us on twitter @The_Gazette and like our page on facebook to keep up with all the latest news.