MACHETE-wielding masked raiders are being hunted after threatening guards during a terrifying robbery in Lytham.
The two men, both wearing balaclavas, pounced as Group 4 Security guards delivered cash for the Santander Bank ATM machine on Clifton Street at 7pm on Tuesday.
Police say the guards were approached by two men in dark clothing and balaclavas, wielding a 12in machete and a crowbar, who forced them to open the cashbox.
The robbers then fled the scene with a sum of money in a silver Skoda Octavia, with the registration AJ09 VXN.
Police said the car was recovered in an alleyway nearby and will now be forensically examined.
It is believed the car had been stolen from the Greater Manchester area and had false plates. Police believe the offenders then got into another vehicle to make their escape.
Neither of the guards were injured in the incident.
Stuart Hurst, owner of Charles Stuart Menswear, Clifton Street, Lytham, said the robbery was a sign of Lytham being an increased target for raiders.
His shop was robbed before Christmas in 2011, when thieves broke through a neighbouring shop wall into his clothes store, stealing thousands of pounds of items.
He added: “I am very concerned as we had a major robbery ourselves in 2011.
“In the last couple of years, since they decided to shut Lytham police station, there is little police presence in the town.
“We have been a business here for 21 years and this kind of crime seems to be on the rise, especially in the past three years.
“Our town needs to be better protected.”
Danny Nicholson, 36, of Browning Avenue, Lytham, was walking his dog when he saw the police outside the bank.
He said: “I was out with the dog when I heard a helicopter overhead. I walked back home through Lytham town centre and was shocked to see the police outside the bank.
“People were saying the cash van had been raided. It’s happening more and more now in Lytham. It’s a sleepy place and it’s being targeted by robbers.
“The robbers knew exactly what they were doing. They knew the nearest police would be 15 minutes away too and that they could get away with it.”
Sgt Nick Connaughton from Blackpool CID said: “An investigation is under way but I would appeal to anybody that witnessed this robbery or saw any persons or vehicles acting suspiciously in the area to contact police.
“The bank is centrally located so I’d also like to speak with anybody who may have seen anyone loitering around the bank in the days leading up to the robbery. A large number of inquiries are underway but I’d appeal to anybody with information about this offence to come forward and contact Lancashire Police on 101.”