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Since February 2009 -
The Midland Bank was now open in 1947, at 48 High Street, a location which was still being used as a bank at the beginning of 2004. Meanwhile across the street at number 62, the Yorkshire Penny Bank had been opened. It seems the war years had given the banks a chance to expand!
This was the last serving bank in Rishton, although the Midland was taken over by H. S. B. C. during the 1990's in a stock market takeover bid.
At around 1.30pm on Friday 27 February 2009, two masked robbers broke into the Rishton branch of HSBC. They smashed through the roof at the back of the building, gaining access to the service area. The raid took place seconds after the bank had received a large cash delivery and the robbers got away with a significant amount of money.
The branch of HSBC was a converted terraced house in the middle of the main street. In a small community like this, an incident of this nature is unheard of.
At the time of the robbery there were two members of staff working in the bank. The female cashier was dealing with the cash delivery whilst the male cashier was serving the queue of customers that was building up during a busy lunchtime.
Just as the moment the cash in transit man made the last drop off, the cashiers heard a loud bang behind them. The male cashier went to look at what it was, he saw two figures coming through the roof. He instantly realised that a robbery was taking place. A figure dressed all in black, his face covered with a balaclava marched over to the cashiers demanding to know where the money was. As the cash drop-off had only just been made it was all there, directly in front of them.
They had come through the old, slanted, tiled roof over the back door. Having prepared the roof in the days before, all the robbers had to do was remove the tiles and kick through the ceiling, nine feet off the ground. They landed a few feet away from the cashiers and the money.
The cashiers were powerlessly trapped behind the glass that was supposed to protect them. As one robber put the money in a holdall the other forcefully made the cashiers turn away from them as they carried out the crime. The offenders emptied the cash drawers by the till and ran out the back door. The entire robbery lasted just over a minute.
The robbers got away in a black A-Class Mercedes they had parked in the alleyway behind the bank. There is a witness who saw an Asian male help the robbers get into the car and leave the scene. The getaway car drove through the streets of Rishton to a white, transit van parked in another alleyway nearby. There the robbers changed vehicle and set fire to the Mercedes.
They pulled the van out of the alleyway cutting up two cars. The van then headed for a main road between Blackburn and Rishton but this is where the trail went cold.
The robbers had been planning the raid for a long time. One witness saw a man in the back of a van filming the bank, from across the street, three weeks earlier. There was also other robberies in the local area carried out in a similar fashion.
A witness in one of the cars that was cut-up described the person driving the van as a male, white in his early 30's, slim build and slim features. The male had dark brown hair and was wearing a short-sleeved royal blue polo shirt.
• Both men were described as about 5ft 11in with North Western accents.
• The witness who saw the accomplice described him as male, 5ft 6in tall, Asian appearance, short dark hair, medium build, and wearing orange / brown sweatshirt.
• The Mercedes had been stolen 27 days earlier. Where had it been in that time? The car's original number plate was MT06 LSE. It had a reproduced one during the robbery, YD05 BRL.
• The robbers used a ladder to get onto the roof.
The bank offered a £50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the criminals, and a reconstruction of the robbery was shown on the BBC TVs Crimewatch program on the 29th June 2009.
In June 1992, the Midland Bank was taken over by HSBC Holdings plc, who phased out the Midland Bank name by June 1999, in favour of HSBC Bank.
On 10 June 2015, HSBC announced that it would be rebranding its branches in the United Kingdom. HSBC chairman Douglas Flint described the Midland brand as "odds on favourite" for a return to the high street.
In September 2015, it was announced that the Midland Bank name would not be revived, and the branch network in the United Kingdom would be branded "HSBC UK".
The Rishton branch of the bank was closed in