Armed bank raid in Eccleston

Nat West Bank, Eccleston.
Nat West Bank, Eccleston.

ARMED robbers struck at a Chorley village bank yesterday afternoon.

Two masked men targeted the Nat West, The Green, Eccleston.

Staff were left terrified as the men - dressed in dark clothing and armed with what is believed to be a firearm - demanded money.

Police, who are appealing for witnesses, said they were unsure whether the raiders got away with any cash.

The incident happened at around 12:20pm.

The men entered the bank and attempted to breach the security by threatening staff and demanding money.

They left the scene in a vehicle that was found abandoned on Stocks Lane about a mile away.

Detective Inspector Geoff Hurs,t from Chorley CID: said, “I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and who witnessed either the incident or suspicious behaviour prior to the robbery, to come forward and contact the police.

“I am also keen to try and establish where the two robbers went following the incident at the bank.

“It is a possibility that the men may have left the area on foot, especially if the car found abandoned is linked to the crime.

“We have a number of officers working on this investigation and we are studying CCTV footage and carrying out house to house enquiries.

“Fortunately nobody in the bank was hurt but it was a terrifying experience for the staff and we will be working with them to build up a picture of what happened.

“Eccleston is a quiet neighbourhood and residents will be surprised by what has happened. I would urge them not to panic as incidents like this are rare, especially in areas like this.”

A member of staff at Eccleston Pre-School Methodist Church, The Green, opposite the bank, said: “I only got into work at 11.50am and then half an hour later I heard all the children in the playground nearby screaming, saying there’s been a robbery.”

An employee at David J Killen and Co, The Green, said: “I was on my lunch at the time but when I came back the bank was surrounded by half a dozen police cars.”

Keith and Joyce Burgess, who live on The Green, directly next to the bank, said they didn’t see the incident.

Mrs Burgess, 85, said: “I just saw a police car there and said they usually come to get their money out of the money box.”

She said she knew of an attempted robbery at the bank on a previous occasion.

“Once before,” she said. “They didn’t get anything then. I don’t think they’ve got anything today.”

Mr Burgess, 86, said: “I didn’t see anything.”

A spokesman for Nat West said: “We do not wish to comment. It’s a police matter.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Chorley CID on 101 quoting log reference 0537 of July.

People with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at Crimestoppers-uk.org.

No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.