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Manhunt: police seek raider who threatened bank staff
POLICE are hunting a man who tried to rob a Bournemouth bank in broad daylight.
A large number of officers were scrambled to NatWest on Southbourne Grove, opposite Grand Avenue, at 12.05pm yesterday following reports of an attempted robbery inside.
It is the second robbery to have happened in Southbourne this week after a man wearing a hooded jacket threatened staff and stole money from One Stop in Seabourne Road on Sunday.
The latest incident at NatWest is understood to have been committed by a lone robber who had been asking for money from people using the outside cash point before he went inside and threatened staff, demanding money.
The bank was cordoned off while scenes of crimes officers gathered forensic evidence. Other officers spoke to customers who were inside the bank and nearby traders.
Armed response officers, assisted by the Dorset Police helicopter, were also drafted in to help in the search for the man. The search continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
News of the robbery was met with shock by residents.
Tim Colthup, who lives in Southbourne Overcliff Drive, said: “Southbourne used to be a quiet place but there have been a lot of incidents here lately. The One Stop was robbed just this Sunday.”
A Dorset Police spokesman said: “At 12.05pm we were called to an attempted robbery at NatWest. Officers, including armed police, were called to carry out a search of the area.”
A NatWest spokesperson said: “We are working with police to investigate an incident at our NatWest Southbourne branch.
“As always, the safety and security of our customers and staff is our main priority.”
She said the bank would remain closed for the remainder of the day and reopen at 9am today. Customers were directed to use the Boscombe and Christchurch branches during the closure.
Det Insp Becky Riggs, of Bournemouth CID, appealed for witnesses or anyone with information to contact police urgently.
She said: “There was no sighting of any weapon and I believe that this was the work |of a lone offender.”
The offender was a man believed to be wearing a hooded top and dark trousers.
Anyone with information should ring 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Traders shocked by second robbery in a week
TRADERS in Southbourne say they are shocked by yesterday’s attempted robbery but won’t let the actions of mindless criminals beat them.
Heather Martyn, co-ordinator of Southbourne-on-Sea Traders Association, said: “There is shock as you wouldn’t expect this kind of thing to happen here but many traders are standing strong and say they are not prepared to bow down to that kind of behaviour.
“As a business community we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour and we will work very closely with the police to help them.
“Our thoughts are with the staff at NatWest bank. The police have been fantastic and have taken the time to reassure traders that it was an opportunist crime rather than pre-planned.”
Trish Williams, manager of the Tenovus charity shop, said: “I was at the till at the time and it was my volunteer who was outside and said ‘Trish I think NatWest has been done over’. That’s when all the police cars arrived. It is a shock.”
Mrs Williams said the incident yet again highlighted the need for CCTV cameras on the high street.
“I have been told we are one of the only places locally that doesn’t have cameras. I think it’s about time we got them,” she added.
Mrs Martyn said there were a number of individual shops with CCTV cameras and the issue of providing CCTV on the high street had been discussed. “It is something that hopefully will happen.”
Pat Hickey, working at Potters Butchers, said: “I didn’t see anything because I was busy in the shop.The first I heard about it was when the police came tearing up the road.
“It is normally very quiet here all we tend to get is the odd accident on the high street.”
News of the robbery was met with shock by residents. Tim Colthup, who lives in Southbourne Overcliff Drive, said: “Southbourne used to be a quiet place but there have been a lot of incidents here lately. The One Stop was robbed just this Sunday.”