Manchester police fire at armed robbers

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The Independent Online

Members of an armed gang who may have been hit by police gunfire during two bank robberies were on the run yesterday. Police do not know if any of the robbers were wounded during the shooting late on Friday.

The gang escaped with "large amounts of cash" from the Halifax and Cheshire building societies in Droylsden, Manchester. A police spokesman said a man had pointed a gun at an officer, and that shots were fired at a getaway car.

The car sped off and it is not yet known if any of the robbers were injured in the shooting at around 4.50pm yesterday in Droylsden, Greater Manchester.

The robbers had burst into both The Cheshire Building Society and the Halifax bank on Market Street, Droylsden, threatening customers and staff before escaping with a large amount of cash.

They got into a silver Honda Civic, bearing false registration plates AD51 FVL, which had been stolen in a burglary in Droylsden on March 20.

But an armed officer on routine patrol in the area was told of the raid by a member of the public and approached the getaway car.

He was then threatened by one of the robbers with the shotgun - and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said he fired, "a number of shots at the car in response".

The car was later found abandoned a short distance away, on Peakdale Avenue, Droylsden.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been informed of the incident by GMP as a matter of procedure.

Supt Chris Sykes from GMP said: "The area was busy at the time of the robberies and I would urge anyone who may have witnessed what happened to come forward.

"I would also like to hear from anyone who may have seen the getaway car being approached by police, or who might have seen this car since it was stolen on the 20 March 2009."