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By Matt Stokes
Two men are on the run after robbing the Banbury Road branch of Lloyds TSB and assaulting its 51-year-old manager last Thursday.
According to Thames Valley Police, the men waited for the manager to arrive, and at 7:40am forced their way inside as he unlocked the door. They are reported to have had a knife in the bag they brought with them, but did not use it, slapping the manager instead and forcing him to hand over a large sum of money from the bank’s walk-in safe. He was left without injury following the assault, but was treated for shock by paramedics at the scene.
They then locked him inside the safe, where he was discovered two hours later by police after another bank employee raised the alarm. They escaped in a black hatchback and a silver Vauxhall Zafira according to police.
The men are said to have been wearing black masks covering their mouths and noses; the first suspect is described as being white, around 30 years old, 5ft 10ins tall, with a grade one shaved head and an unshaved face. The second man is black, 25 years old, 6ft, with tight curly hair and is described as having “thin features”. He was also wearing some kind of head covering. The incident occurred on 19th January.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Hayles has described the incident as lasting “about 30 minutes”, and said: “I am appealing for anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously around the premises before, during or after the incident, or anyone who saw either of these two cars head into the city centre, to contact police as soon as possible.”
Detective Inspector Simon Morton stressed the unique nature of the incident, telling The Oxford Mail: “It’s really rare for a bank to be robbed – it’s more like the ’80s than 2012. We’re not only looking locally, but nationally for similar offences and are scouring CCTV. I’ve got eight detectives on the case.” He also described the men as “quite calm and very directing.”
Michelle Degli Esposti, a second year psychologist at Teddy Hall, said she felt that “for a city, Oxford is very safe, and maybe people take that for granted- hence why security appears to have been so slack at the bank.”