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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Armed men rob NatWest, Trading Estate

Sledgehammer fails to smash glass, robbers seize little cash

Report and photographs: Paul Janik

Bank robbers failed to break security glass, panicked then seized a small handful of banknotes before escaping in their waiting car.

Slough Trading Estate's very pleasant, friendly and helpful NatWest bank was attacked by two men on Tuesday, 23 August, circa 14:50. One had a sledgehammer and the other a piece of metal, wrongly described by police as a sword.

The attack happened when the branch, at 177 Buckingham Avenue, was busy serving customers.

Three cashier positions were open. Two in the non-protected public area, and one in the branch's private office with access to substantial amounts of money. This cashier's position is protected by a glass window.

Expecting this cashier's window to shatter, a raider hit it with his sledgehammer. Instead of hundreds of tiny pieces, the window did not move. The specially strengthened security glass did not break and did not crack.

Astonished, and probably disappointed too, the bank robbers panicked. Desperate for money, one raider frantically grabbed a small quantity of banknotes from a cashier's draw at the rear of the open unprotected area.

Berkshire CID, based in Reading, have imposed their usual news blackout, unlike their more enlightened Buckinghamshire CID colleagues based in Aylesbury. Berkshire CID will only state the men were under 6 feet tall (1m 83cm), wore dark clothing and escaped in a waiting car. It is unknown if the car was in the car park or in one of the two adjoining streets, Gresham Road or Hamilton Road.

Updated

The Slough Times has seen the cashier's window hit by the sledgehammer. There are two small marks. One about 1 cm long and the other about 1.5 cm long; both about 0.8 cm wide and depth less than 0.1 cm.

It is a tribute to Natwest's superior security precautions.

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The Slough Times understands all the bank's CCTV cameras, inside and outside, were active and fully working. So too were SEGRO's (Slough Estate's) own network of street mounted security and vehicle numberplate reading cameras.

Closed for the day but services still available.

The NatWest bank is in a row of three other businesses: Gregg's snackbar, Lloyd's Bank and closed-down and bordered-up HSBC bank. In the adjacent parade of shops is a sub-post office and a police administrative office.