A SEARCH is underway for a suspected masked bank robber who was caught on camera by a suspicious customer.

Police have released an image which appears to have been taken by a quick-thinking customer in a queue at Bishop Auckland’s NatWest branch, showing the suspect waiting in line alongside with blue latex gloves on.

Officers were called to the bank, on Newgate Street, at 10.20am to reports of a robbery.

They said the suspect handed over a threatening note to the staff member whereby he requested cash.

Some cash was handed to the man who concealed the money in black and white carrier bag.

He then escaped on foot towards Durham Chare and was later seen driving a red Ford Fiesta in the direction of Durham Road.

No-one was physically injured during the incident.

RESPONSE: Officers outside the NatWest branch on Newgate Street, Bishop Auckland Video: KATIE MACFARLANE

Members of public raised concerns on social media following the incident, reporting seeing armed officers on the street.

A police helicopter was also hovering in the area.

The suspect was described as wearing grey jogging bottoms and a green jacket with the hood up, under which he had a red peaked cap on.
He had his face covered with a white mask and wore blue latex gloves.

Durham County Councillor for Bishop Auckland, Joy Allen, said: “Crimes such as these are very rare on the high street but they are very alarming when they do.

“Thankfully on this occasion nobody was hurt, but the staff and customers involved will be understandably traumatised by this morning's events.

“There were a number of witnesses to the robbery that have provided the police with good information which will hopefully lead to an early arrest.”
Police last night confirmed no arrests had been made and investigations were ongoing.

A spokesperson for NatWest confirmed an incident had taken place at the branch and the bank was cooperating with police and the ongoing investigation.

They added it was intended the branch would reopen today, following yesterday’s closure

Anyone with information should call Durham Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.