Reward offered following robbery shooting

A £25,000 reward has been offered after an armed gang shot at unarmed officers during a bank robbery in Horwich.

The robbery took place on Wednesday morning at the Barclays Bank on Winter Hey Lane. Three men arrived at the bank in a red Ford Focus. Two of them got out of the car, armed with a shotgun and samurai type sword.

The men threatened bank employees and assaulted one of them, before stealing what police described as a "substantial amount of money".

The men later swapped the Ford Focus for a Ford Mondeo just off Crown Lane and set fire to the Focus.

A marked police van was in pursuit of the Mondeo when the car stopped and two of the men, one armed with a shotgun, got out of the car and fired a shot through the windscreen of the van. They then drove off.

Two unarmed officers in the van were injured. The 26-year-old officer driving the van suffered an eye injury and cuts to his face and arms. His colleague, a 40-year-old woman, who was in the passenger seat, was treated for shock.

Both officers were treated in the Royal Bolton hospital for minor injuries. The bank worker who was assaulted during the robbery was treated by paramedics at the scene.

The Ford Mondeo was later found abandoned in a car park near to the Crawford Arms on Red Rock Lane in Haigh. It had false registration plates, reading LM04 UTE. Police said that the car had been stolen from the Astley area of Leigh on November 9 and that the actual registration was RA54 GLZ.

Police said that the men involved in the incident are believed to be white and they were all wearing dark clothing and dark coloured face masks.

Police have appealed for information about the robbery, as well as the whereabouts of the Ford Mondeo between the time it was stolen and the time it was used in the robbery.

Superintendent Andy Durkin from Bolton Police said: "I'd like to reiterate that the men responsible for these incidents are armed and dangerous and no one should protect their identities. To discharge a shotgun at close range directly at the windscreen of a police van at unarmed officers and to use unnecessary violence against bank staff is just horrific. These men need to be caught."

Supt Durkin said that large amounts of CCTV footage were being examined as part of the investigation. He said: "I'd like to reassure the local community that we are doing everything we can to trace the offenders responsible for these terrifying incidents. We have increased patrols in the area and members of the public will see an increased amount of high visibility officers. Anyone with any concerns or information can speak to these officers or contact their local station.

"I'd like to remind the public that this particular robbery is unusual in the level of violence used by the offenders and that a gun was actually fired. Commercial and cash in transit robbers rarely target members of the public and do not usually carry firearms."

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Bolton CID on: 0161 856 5740 or Crimestoppers anonymously on: 0800 555 111.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

07 May 2014
'Skull Cracker' In Custody In London
Kent Police, in partnership with officers from the Metropolitan Police Service, have arrested two men in East London on suspicion of conspiracy to commit armed robbery. On 3 May, Kent Police began a search for Michael Wheatley, 55, who had failed to return to HMP Standford Hill after being released on temporary licence.
06 April 2005
BNP leader charged with racial hatred offences
Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party (BNP), has been charged with four racial hatred offences, police have confirmed.
29 November 2006
Police officers shot at in bank robbery
Two police officers have been shot at during an armed bank robbery in Bolton, Greater Manchester. The shooting happened at Barclays Bank on Winter Hey Lane in Horwich on Wednesday morning. A gang of three men had robbed the bank and fled the scene.
12 November 2014
Release Of Police Killer Described As 'Sickening'
The release of a man convicted of killing three unarmed police officers in 1966 has been described as "sickening". Harry Roberts, now aged 78, has been released from prison after serving 48 years for 1966 murders of three unarmed police officers in Shepherd's Bush in west London.
05 October 2006
Review launched following Israeli embassy police row
Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair has ordered an inquiry after a Muslim police officer was excused from guarding the Israeli embassy in London.