UPDATE: Armed robbery in Lancaster

The suspect approaches the counter at Marsden Building Society.
The suspect approaches the counter at Marsden Building Society.
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Police have released a CCTV image of an armed robbery at a Lancaster building society today, Thursday.

The incident happened at Marsden Building Society/Cumbrian Property Services on Church Street at around 12pm.

A man entered the business premises, approached the counter and threatened the assistant with what is believed to be a handgun and demanded cash.

He stole a quantity of cash before calmly leaving the premises and heading off in the direction of New Street towards the bus station area.

The alarm was raised and officers attended the area.

The force helicopter circled above the city in a bid to track the offender, but he remains at large.

Church Street was cordoned off between Bella Italia and Cumbrian Properties, while police investigated the incident.

A spokesman for Banks Lyon jewellers in Church Street, which is opposite the building society, said: “Everyone was told to stay inside, no-one was allowed up and down the street and it was closed between Cumbrian Properties and Bella Italia.”

One eye-witness said they saw staff from the building society being taken away in a police car.

He is described as white, around 5ft 10in tall with a pale complexion and was clean shaven.

He had blonde/red hair and spoke with a local accent.

He was wearing a grey silver hooded cardigan with distinctive toggle style fastening akin to a duffle coat, dark tracksuit bottoms, grey gloves, and a black/grey scarf and was wearing sunglasses.

Detective Chief Inspector Vicki Evans from Lancaster CID said: “This incident happened in broad daylight at a busy lunchtime in the city centre. I would appeal to anyone who witnessed what happened or who saw the man leave the shop to come forward and contact the police.

“Fortunately nobody was hurt although the assistant has been left shocked following what can only be described as a terrifying ordeal.

“If anyone has any information then I would urge them to contact the police.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Lancaster CID on 101.

People with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at Crimestoppers-uk.org.

No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.