SECURITY staff were threatened at gunpoint and a CCTV camera blown apart with it during a terrifying Wigan bank raid.
The masked gang, who were also armed with a sledgehammer, was still at large today as police issued an urgent appeal for help in tracking them down.
The raiders struck at the Nationwide on Gerard Street, Ashton, during a cash delivery to the closed premises at 7pm on Tuesday.
Two security guards were inside, both of whom had the shotgun levelled at them while the intruders demanded money.
They then fired a blast at the CCTV camera, destroying it.
The men ran off with cash towards Heath Road at the rear of the bank.
They were white and wearing balaclavas. The robber with the shotgun was about 6ft 4ins tall, of slim build and wore a black jacket.
His accomplice was between 5ft 6ins and 5ft 8ins tall, of stocky built and wore a bright orange or red waterproof type jacket.
The third man, about 5ft 6ins to 5ft 8ins tall, was of stocky build and wore a black balaclava and black jacket.
Det Insp Jon Keeley said: “It must have been terrifying for the victims to have a shotgun fired in their midst.
“Both security guards have been left badly shaken by this robbery. We believe the offenders must have seen the victims going into the bank before they struck.
“I am therefore appealing for anyone in the area who may have seen the men before or after this robbery. People may remember a particularly tall male with a shorter man wearing a bright red jacket, or may have noticed something suspicious in the days leading up to the offence.
“Incidents of this nature are rare and we are committed to working with banks and the security industry.
“Our message to those planning on carrying out cash-in-transit robberies or attempting to steal cash machines in the run-up to Christmas is clear - we will find you and we will make sure you spend this Christmas and many more to come behind bars away from your family and loved ones.
“Robberies that target cash-in-transit vehicles, banks, post offices and commercial businesses are often violent offences that can result in life-changing mental and physical scars on those who find themselves confronted by these criminals.
“They are not victimless crimes and cause deep distress to those at the brunt of the attacks.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 7149 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.