FIREFIGHTERS had to knock down a wall to rescue a security worker who got trapped inside a former bank while filling up a cash machine.

The crew made a hole in the front of the old Natwest building, in Ferryhill, so the man could escape.

Police remained at the scene during the hour-long rescue operation on Monday night, after which all cash was removed.

It is understood that the G4S employee was working on the ATM inside the branch, which shut in June but still provides a cash machine.

When he was unable to get out, emergency services were called in to help.

A spokesperson for Durham Police said: "Police attended Natwest bank in Market Street, Ferryhill, at around 9.30pm on August 6 following reports that a G4S employee had become locked inside the building while working on the cash machine.

"Officers remained on scene while the fire brigade knocked down part of the wall to free the man.

"All cash was removed from the cash point following the incident."

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service confirmed it used door entry and cutting equipment to release the man in little over an hour.

Shoppers who saw the boarded-up door and rubble outside the former bank initially believed the incident had been an attempted robbery.

It is not known how long the machine will be out of service.

Head of operational risk for G4S Cash Solutions, Gareth Skinner said: “On Monday 6 August a member of our cash courier team was locked inside a bank branch while carrying out a routine ATM service.

“With the help of local emergency services our courier was removed from the branch and carried out the rest of their site visits without incident.”