Two security guards were threatened with a knife by masked robbers in a terrifying daytime raid – carried out opposite a police station.
Community leaders today moved to reassure residents over the incident, which comes just over a month after another armed raid at a jewellers in the town.
Detectives were today appealing for witnesses after the robbers – one of them wielding what has been described as a kitchen knife – attacked the security guards as they loaded a cash machine at the Sainsbury’s store in St Andrew’s Road North, St Annes.
The robbers, whose faces were covered and who were wearing dark clothing, then escaped with a “substantial amount” of cash. A third man drove the getaway car – a British Racing Green coloured Mini – in the direction of Blackpool.
However, the Mini, which police say had earlier been stolen from outside Lancashire, was later found dumped on St Annes Road East, to the east of the shop.
The robbery happened at around 8.30am at the supermarket, which is opposite St Annes police station.
Det Insp Gareth Willis, who is leading the investigation for Blackpool Police, said the raid lasted just two minutes.
He added: “Fortunately, the security guards were unhurt following the incident but they have been left shaken following a frightening ordeal.
“There were quite a lot of witnesses and we are in the process of collating their statements.
“There has been very limited words spoken, they have literally pushed into them and taken the cash box.
“These types of offences are not opportunistic offences and there will have been a degree of planning that has gone into this.
“The vehicle was found to be stolen from outside Lancashire. The indications are that we are not looking for local offenders.”
Residents and visitors in the area when the robbery happened today told of their shock.
It comes after a jewellers in the town was raided last month and an armed raid at a bank in Lytham in March.
Fiona Newbold, 37, from Hungerford Road, St Annes, said: “It’s scary and frightening, these things don’t tend to happen round here. It’s not good and with all the cutbacks in the police force things are going to go from bad to worse.”
Dave Horseforth, 53, from Mornington Road, Lytham, said: “I’ve never seen so many police in my life and I was thinking something wasn’t right here. It’s unusual because the police station’s here.”
Morris Seliseny, 52,who was visiting the resort from Manchester, said: “It’s not nice because I come here for the peace and quiet. You don’t expect this in St Annes.”
Another shopper, who did not want to be named, added: “It’s a bit of a stupid thing to do outside the police station.”
Coun Tony Ford said the town may be being targeted due it being an affluent area.
He said: “It’s a rich area. I suspect it looks like easy pickings – maybe they think it’s easier than other places.”