"Three minutes of madness": Witness relives Wakefield bank robbery

“It was three minutes of madness”.

Thursday, 26th November 2020, 8:17 am
Updated Thursday, 26th November 2020, 8:20 am

These are the words of an eyewitness who described the moment an armed robber burst into a Wakefield city centre bank, before being wrestled to the floor by a customer.

The masked man walked into Lloyds Bank on Westgate on Monday morning, November 23, claiming he had a gun hidden under a blanket before grabbing a cashier and demanding money.

But after emptying the cashier’s float, a male customer then took his chance to pounce, grabbing the gunman and a struggle on the floor of the bank ensued.

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Lloyds on Westgate.

The thief, who dropped his jacket, was able to keep hold of the money and made for the door before fleeing.

The eyewitness, who did not want to be named, told the Express: “I have never seen anything like it.

“From him coming in and then getting out it was just three minutes of madness.”

The man said there were about six people in the bank quietly queuing when the thief entered shortly after 11am on Monday.

He was dressed all in black, wearing a black duffle coat with black trousers and boots.

He also had a mask over his face.

Claiming he had a gun, he then told everyone to get on the floor.

“I just thought this guy looked serious as soon as he walked in,” said the eyewitness.

“It looked like he had a gun, but it was concealed.

“I wasn’t taking any chances. Everybody just crouched down.

“There were a few pensioners who had been waiting the queue.”

He said the thief then held the supposed gun to the cashier and said he wanted “all the money”.

The cashier then explained that she could not get into the safe so he grabbed all the cash he could from the float before being set upon by the customer.

The eyewitness said: “I was just shocked, I have never seen anything like this in my life.

“The man was fine but it all happened so quickly.

“It’s one of those experiences that you think would never to happen to you, but I’m just happy it’s all over and done with.

“I’m just glad he didn’t come into the bank with a machete or something like that.”

As some earlier reports suggested, the customers were then forced to remain in the bank for several hours after the incident, as police cordoned off the area outside and interviewed each witness.

The eyewitness added: “I didn’t get out until 3.40pm but the staff were brilliant with us, they deserve mentioning.”

Detective Inspector Thomas Hilyer, of Wakefield District CID, said:“We have some positive lines of enquiry on this matter and our detectives are continuing to progress these.

“While this was a serious incident and will have been of concern to those who witnessed it, there were no injuries reported and a gun was not seen.

“We would ask anyone who witnessed this incident and has not yet come forward to contact Wakefield District CID on 101, quoting crime reference 13200586582 or on the West Yorkshire Police website.”