Detectives believe the man - a stocky 5ft 4in (or possibly 5ft 2in without his usual hat) is dismissed by most people as "small and harmless".
But he is the suspect in 34 bank and building society robberies across central and northern England and Wales that have netted him at least pounds 38,000 in three years.
The cut-out uses a photograph from a surveillance camera during a robbery, showing him in anorak and glasses, with his hands in his pockets.
A police spokesman said the cut-out has been issued to jog memories in their manhunt - named Operation Tornado - because people tend to think a robber is big, threatening and aggressive, "not the short bloke next door".
The robber wears a variety of hats including deerstalkers, trilbys, baseball caps and flat caps, probably in efforts to disguise his true height.
He frequently poses as a customer, then threatens a cashier with a plastic carrier bag containing what looks like the barrel of a firearm.
He has also been described as chubby, balding and middle-aged.Reuse content