Four men have been arrested after axe-wielding masked raiders ambushed a cash delivery van at a Fleetwood garage before being arrested in the Garstang area.
And in a dramatic developments, the axe was later thrown at a police patrol vehicle and the raiders’ white Audi 4x4 buffeted shocked motorists on the A6 as the raiders desperately tried to escape.
They were finally apprehended in the Scorton area – but not before the men had dragged a terrified 61-year-old woman from her car in Pilling and sped off in the stolen Ford Focus, which they abandoned at Cabus.
The raiders targeted the cash-in-transit vehicle at the Shell garage in Hatfield Avenue, Fleetwood at 7.50am, stealing a ‘substantial’ amount of money before escaping in a dark sports car and then switching to the white Audi.
The men – one armed with an axe – were all wearing masks and dark clothing during the raid which happened as children were walking past on their way to school.
The Shell garage is located at one of Fleetwood’s busiest junctions, on a roundabout linking five different roads.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Winstanley, of Blackpool Police, said: “This was a fast-paced sequence of events and it is fortunate that, while distressing for those involved, no-one was injured.
“These arrests are just the latest stage in this investigation which involves a number of different scenes and a number of different vehicles, which are being examined by crime scene investigation staff.
“We also have our neighbourhood policing staff on patrol in the areas affected to offer some reassurance.”
Fleetwood resident Mike Sumner, who lives on nearby Langwood, close to the Shell garage, informed police after the raid that he had seen several men dressed in dark clothes parked on his street in the early hours of Tuesday – the morning before the raid.
Sports coach Mr Sumner, 44, said: “It was about 1pm on Tuesday when the dog started barking and I looked out of the window.
“There was a car parked up with at least three men inside, all dressed in black and it looked really suspicious.
“Our street is just around the corner from the garage.”
Four men aged 22, 24, 27 and 32, all from the Bolton area, are currently in custody.