AN ARMED robber brandishing a gun targeted a bank in a busy shopping area in Little Lever.

Police were called to reports of an armed robbery at the Royal Bank of Scotland in High Street, at 3.25pm today.

Eyewitnesses said the offender was wearing a black motorbike helmet and sunglasses before entering the bank and waving his gun, shouting: “Armed robbery, give me your money.”

The man then left the bank without any cash before riding away on a pushbike in the direction of Radcliffe.

Little Lever resident. Zoe Byron described seeing a man standing with a pushbike outside the Well Pharmacy, next door to the bank at around 2.50pm, while she was walking past with her two children on her way to St Teresa’s RC Primary School.

She said: “We walked past a man wearing a motorcycle helmet, with an orange scarf wrapped around it and sunglasses over his eyes.

“He was leaning against the wall of the pharmacy with his bike and I thought he looked a bit odd.

“He had a rucksack on and a JD Sports orange plastic bag wrapped around him.

“We carried on walking to St Teresa’s and on our way back he’d just been in and was cycling off on his bike.

“That’s when all the police and ambulance were here and I was in shock that we’d just walked past him.

“Our neighbour was in the bank at the time and said the gun he was carrying looked more like a BB gun.

“He said there was old lady who collapsed too and believed she had just had a back operation so an ambulance was called.

“We just can’t believe that we actually walked past a bank robber but we’ve been in another shop and the woman said she’d also seen him loitering in the area.”

The mother of a bank worker inside the building at the time of the attempted robbery

said she received a text off her daughter after the incident.

The woman, who wished not to be named, said: “You just don’t expect to receive a

message like that, I came down here straight away.

“It’s really upsetting but I’m just glad she’s okay.”

Another eyewitness, who had just left Bronzed sunbed shop across the road immediately after the robbery, said he saw six or seven police cars surrounding the bank.

He said: “There were armed police stood outside and as I walked away I could see police driving around looking for the man.”

A navy blue Toyota Auris and off-road motorbike collided in Church Street, Little Lever, as police cars headed to the scene in High Street.

An officer said they believed the biker may have thought police were chasing him before colliding with the car, however both incidents were not linked.

A police spokesman said: “We were called at 3.25pm to reports of an attempted armed robbery in High Street, Little Lever.

“Anyone with information should contact police on 101 and quote incident 1357 of 19/17 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555.”

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