POLICE have launched a manhunt for a gang of ‘audacious’ thieves who tried to cut their way into a cash machine inside a bank in Rustington.
The crime took place at about 4am on Sunday (September,15).
A group of people were spotted on the roof of the Santander branch in Ash Lane.
A hole had been created in the roof and a number of people had entered the bank with an angle grinder and attempted to cut open a cash machine inside the branch.
The alarm was set off and security smoke was released inside the building.
When members of the public disturbed the intruders by shouting at them the group fled from the bank empty handed and got into two cars waiting nearby.
The cars drove off westbound along The Street.
One of the vehicles was a white hatchback and the other was a dark hatchback.
The thieves were wearing dark clothing and balaclavas. Those who went inside the bank would have needed to be small to fit through the hole.
Detective Sergeant Michelle Auger, of West Sussex Priority Crime Team, said: “This was an audacious attempt to steal from the bank that was thwarted by Santander’s defences and the members of the public who challenged the thieves.
“We need to speak to anyone who saw the raid taking place or the thieves escaping. We are particularly keen to speak to anyone who may have seen people acting suspiciously around the branch in the days or weeks beforehand or who saw the getaway vehicles after they left The Street.”
Anyone with information should call 101 quoting serial 269 of 15 September or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.