Armed terror sparks ‘more police’ pleas

Forensic officers outside Santander in Lytham on Tuesday night.
Forensic officers outside Santander in Lytham on Tuesday night.
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Traders and community leaders today called for more officers to police the streets of Lytham on a permanent basis following a horrifying armed robbery at one of the town’s banks.

The Santander branch in the town’s Clifton Street was raided by masked men wielding axes and sledgehammers as G4S guards were walking out of the bank on Tuesday night.

Coun Ken Hopwood

Coun Ken Hopwood

The raiders stole cash before speeding off in a silver Ford Focus, which was later recovered on Talbot Road, near to the junction with Norfolk Road.

Coun Ken Hopwood, Fylde councillor for Clifton ward, (pictured) says he met with police on October 31 with a view to getting more officers on the beat.

He said: “As a result of the meeting we arranged an increased police presence in Lytham over the Christmas period so hopefully that will keep down various issues.

“The police have limited resources and they are doing the best they can with what they’ve got but there’s clearly a lack of police presence on the streets.

Andrew Fallows, chairman of Lytham Business Partnership, who also attended the meeting, said: “The number of times it has been robbed is a worry and we met with the police to make Lytham a harder target with the view criminals won’t come here.

“It’s really difficult to know how to protect businesses and it seems Santander is always the target.”

Lytham county councillor Tim Ashton added: “There’s a lot of high quality shops and banks and if they are fearful of being robbed they will not invest in the town.”

Santander declined to comment about the number of times their bank has been targeted, which includes an armed robbery at the Cleveleys branch last month and in Fleetwood in November 2012.

Anyone with information should call police on 101.

The Gazette asked Lancashire Police for a comment on having more officers on the beat in Lytham but a spokesman said no-one was available.

Police say second car was involved as appeal continues

Det Sgt Chris Sanderson from Blackpool CID said: “I would urge anybody that witnessed the offence itself or saw anything suspicious in the Clifton Street area in the days leading up to this robbery to come forward.

“The car used in the robbery was abandoned on Talbot Road shortly after the offence and it is likely the men have then got into a second vehicle to make their escape so it is important that anyone who witnessed this car being left at this location calls police.”

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