A SECURITY guard was hit on the head with a gun and knocked to the floor during an armed robbery at a Bournemouth casino.

The attacker escaped with several thousand pounds from outside the Gala Casino in Westover Road at 5.30pm on Monday.

The robber threatened the 61-year-old Securicor guard, but when the guard backed away, the robber hit him with the butt of the gun.

A witness to the aftermath said: “He ran off and jumped in a car and shouted ‘Go!’ He was quite a big guy.

“There were lots of cars around and I was surprised no-one tried to block him in. They just moved out the way.

“The security guard was lying on the floor clutching his head.

“He was very shook up and pale. He had a cut on his cheek and another on his head. His helmet seemed to have been knocked off.”

DS Ash Rietiker, of Bournemouth and Poole CID, said: “Fortunately the guard – a 61 year old Southampton man – wasn’t seriously hurt. He was treated in hospital for a cut on his head.”

The robber is described as white, at least 6ft tall and of stocky build. He was wearing a fluorescent yellow builder’s style jacket and a balaclava.

The gunman pulled up behind the Securicor van in a dark green Audi A4 car with the number plate N452 FPP, then waited for the guard to come out.

The car was later recovered in the car park of the Grove Hotel in Grove Road.

DS Rietiker added: “There may be witnesses to the robber changing to another car at the hotel.

“They could be crucial to the investigation because so far we don’t know what car the robber got into to make his escape.”

He added: “We’ve had several reported sightings of the man before the robbery and I’m appealing for witnesses to come forward urgently."

He was seen on foot several times, firstly in Grove Road at about 3.45pm, in Westover Road at about 4pm, and around 5pm in Grove Road again.

Witnesses should call Dorset Police on 01202 222222 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.