A BOTCHED robbery at a South Yorkshire bank put the manager in hospital last night after he was stabbed by one of the armed raiders.
Thugs had lain in wait overnight for staff to arrive at the Lloyds TSB branch, and the first staff member to arrive came face-to-face with two masked men brandishing a shotgun and a knife.
The manager, whose company car was stolen and then abandoned by the robbers, was last night allowed home after treatment to two stab wounds to his leg.
Nothing was stolen because the robbers could not gain access to the safe.
Detectives believe they gained access to the bank - in Beckett Road, Wheatley, Doncaster - some time over the weekend by smashing a hole in brickwork at the rear.
The bank was closed yesterday, with the blinds drawn, and a notice in the window stated, ‘Due to an incident this branch is temporarily closed’.
The robbery was reported to police just after 8.35am yesterday, and within minutes armed police were scouring the streets of Wheatley, according to residents.
Police said the shotgun had not been fired during the robbery and the manager was not seriously hurt, although he was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary by ambulance.
The bank was cordoned off to allow crime scene investigators to search for evidence, and soon afterwards the 07-plate Ford Focus was found abandoned in an alleyway near Strafford Road, which was also taped off.
It is not known if the robbers escaped from there on foot, or got into another getaway vehicle.
Both were wearing balaclavas and one spoke with a Doncaster accent while the other is believed to be Middle Eastern. They were both about 5ft 8ins tall and wore grey bomber jackets.
Doncaster CID are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious at the rear of the bank over the weekend, or who saw the robbers fleeing the scene.
“I can’t believe what I’ve been told,” said Martin O’Donnell, who lives nearby.
“I know the manager by sight because I see him arrive every morning when I fetch my paper, although I don’t know him by name. I know he drives a blue Focus.
“There’s been a lot of police activity and I could see the bank was cordoned off so I guessed it would be serious.”
Another resident added: “I’ve seen lots of armed police since it happened. We’ve heard all sorts and I could see an ambulance outside as well as the police cars.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said yesterday: “Two men are believed to have gained entry to the premises while the bank was closed.
“On arrival to open the bank, a staff member was confronted by the two men who were in possession of a knife and a gun.
“They tried to gain access to the safe but were unsuccessful and left the premises in a blue 07 plate Ford Focus.”
A spokesman for Lloyds TSB head office in London confirmed there had been an incident at the Wheatley branch but said it was ‘now a police matter so there is no further comment’.
Anyone with information, or who may have seen the car, is asked to call the police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, quoting incident 159 of April 2.