THOUSANDS of pounds in cash was stolen after thieves brandishing a machete and a hammer confronted security guards at a building society.
The robbery happened at the Nationwide building society on Gerard Street, Ashton-in-Makerfield, at around 6.55pm on Tuesday (Jan 6).
Two men from a security firm had just gone into the building society to replenish the automated telling machine (ATM) when they were confronted by two men, one carrying a large knife or a machete while the other was seen to have some sort of hammer.
They forced one of the guards to drop the cash box, which contained thousands of pounds in cash, and then fled down an alleyway at the side of the Chinese Garden Restaurant which ultimately leads to Heath Road.
It is then believed they got into a white Audi car and drove off.
The cash box was later found discarded on Park Road in Golborne. Officers found the box had been broken into and the security dye inside the box had been activated, so the stolen cash could now be marked.
Neither security guard was physically injured although they were shaken by the events.
Police are now appealing to anyone with information to come forward.
The offenders are described as being white, one of a stocky build and about 5ft 10in tall and both wearing dark clothing.
Detective Sergeant Steve Baldam said: “Although they did not suffer physical injuries, this has left both security guards traumatised and shocked at the events of that afternoon.
“We need to find those responsible for this robbery so they can feel the full force of justice.
“As the box has been opened, it is possible the cash inside has been stained with dye so I would urge people, particularly businesses, to be vigilant when accepting cash that has any dye marks or residue. The customer may be innocent, but by telling us you could bring us that step closer to finding the culprits.
“The robbery took place in a busy location with a lot of traffic through-put and pedestrians who often use that area so there are potentially a lot of witnesses who could have crucial information. If you did witness anything then please come forward.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.