POLICE have released images of a suspected teenage robber who made off with a large amount of cash from a town centre bank today (Tuesday, April 22).

The young raider, who claimed to be armed, struck at the Lloyds branch in Stanley, County Durham, this afternoon. 

He is believed to have entered the Front Street premises shortly before 2pm and approached the counter, telling a bank counter assistant he was in possession of a firearm.

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Durham Police said the suspect then made off, with what was described as, “a substantial amount of money”, heading off amid heavy mist in the direction of the town’s nearby bus station.

Shocked staff raised the alarm and there was a swift police response with a number of vehicles and officers soon on the scene. The bank was closed to members of the public while initial inquiries took place.

Officers spoke to Lloyds employees, customers, passers-by as well as workers in nearby shops as the hunt for the man began.

Earlier today a 21-year-old local man was arrested on suspicion of robbery and has since been released with no further action, after helping police with inquiries.

Police are particularly keen to trace a man aged between 18 and 25 with dark hair, wearing black tracksuit bottoms and a grey hooded top.

Detectives have also appealed for witnesses who may have seen a similarly dressed figure in the vicinity of Front Street, or heading towards the bus station, either side of 2pm.

A Durham Police spokeswoman said: “Officers were called to the Lloyds TSB bank, on Front Street, in Stanley just before 2pm this afternoon.

“It followed reports of a robbery in which the suspect claimed to be in possession of a firearm.

“A substantial amount of money was taken.

“The suspect, who made off in the direction of the bus station.

“Police are appealing for witnesses, and anyone who has information which may help officers with their inquiries is asked to contact Durham Police.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 number, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.