Police hunt armed gang after second Securitas raid

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The Independent Online

Police were today hunting a gang of robbers who rammed a Securitas cash van with a tractor in a dramatic armed raid.

The gang escaped with several hundred thousand pounds in the robbery in Warrington, Cheshire, last night.

The raid happened a fortnight after a gang stole £53 million from a Securitas cash depot in Tonbridge, Kent, in Britain's biggest cash robbery.

No guards were injured in the Warrington attack, which also involved a low loader lorry used to force the van to stop.

The van was attacked in the Woolston area of the town at 8.15pm.

Inspector Tony McEvitt, of Cheshire Constabulary, refused to give any indication of how much money was taken.

He said: "Any talk of figures is pure speculation.

"Due to the nature of the forensic examination of the vehicle, we can't categorically state if any money was taken, let alone how much."

Securitas said several hundred thousand pounds was taken.

The van was attacked on Hardwick Grange.

Securitas spokesman Carl Courtney said "between a few and several hundreds ofthousands of pounds" were stolen.

"It was during a routine run," he said. "We are not, at the moment, prepared to give precise details of where."

Some cash was left at the scene, but he would not reveal how much due to the ongoing police investigation.

The two guards in the van were uninjured.

Mr Courtney said attacks on cash transit vans were on the increase. There were 836 attacks in 2005, he added.

All that remained at the scene of the robbery today was a small pile ofshattered glass and burned debris from where a vehicle had been set alight.

A large polythene bag, rubber vehicle trim and a broken headlight were also visible on the pile, at the junction of Hardwick Grange and Kingsland Grange.

The roads are part of a sprawling industrial estate just off the M6.

The van was ambushed on a road running between warehouse units and a distribution depot for Safeway supermarkets. Opposite was a factory which makes tarpaulins and canvas products.

Less than a mile away is the Securitas building - a windowless bunker made of dark red brick and concrete.

Staff arriving there this morning did not wish to comment on the raid.

A spokeswoman for Cheshire Constabulary said there was nothing to link thelatest robbery with the record-breaking Kent raid.

She said: "At 8.15 last night we were called to Rufford Court in Woolston.

"A Securitas van which was en route to make a cash delivery was behind a lorry which stopped at a give way sign.

"The security van stopped and was deliberately rammed by an agricultural tractor from behind.

"The security van was sandwiched between the tractor and the lorry.

"Two men in balaclavas and carrying crowbars attacked the windows of the van and set it alight with the Securitas staff still inside.

"They stole some money from the van and made off on foot.

"The Securitas staff managed to escape with no injuries."

Police said a Volvo V40, believed to be the getaway car, was found less than a mile away.

The police spokeswoman added: "There is nothing to link this robbery to the incident in Kent at this stage."