Hammer raiders target Merseyside bank
A SLEDGEHAMMER gang was foiled in a bid to smash their way into a bank.
Detectives are hunting a group of men who tried to break into the Barclays branch in Liverpool Road South, Maghull.
Eyewitnesses said they had seen three or four men who tried to use the hammer to smash open the building's reinforced doors just before the bank opened on Monday.
A member of staff called the police and raised the alarm, causing the gang to flee the scene empty-handed.
One nearby business owner said: “They were outside smashing at the door and trying to force it.
“As soon as the alarm went, they were off.
“They must have kept a cool head inside as it would have been pretty frightening.”
Police said bank staff were unhurt, but had been shaken up by the attempted raid at 9.13am.
The four female members of staff had gone into the back room of the branch once they realised the raid was underway, triggering the building’s smoke-based security system as they went.
The bottom panel of the building’s front door was damaged with the hammer.
Detectives remained at the scene into the afternoon to investigate and speak to workers, while police officers were looking for the gang, who were thought to have left the area in a silver Ford Ka which was later found abandoned.
They are then believed to have escaped in another car.
No customers were affected by the incident because the bank was not due to open until 9.30am.
A police spokesman said it was believed there were three men in the gang.
Another witness said: “The police were at the scene very quickly.
“When you hear about the sledgehammer it’s frightening.” Police are speaking to local shopkeepers who they hope will have CCTV footage of the incident.
Anyone who witnessed the attempted break-in or saw people acting suspiciously in the area are asked to call Sefton CID on 0151-777 3835.