Detectives investigating an armed robbery in which a police vehicle was attacked with a sledgehammer are appealing for the public’s help to trace a green van.

The incident happened at around 9.45am on Wednesday, May 23, at the Lloyds TSB bank on Hough Lane in Leyland.

Two masked men wearing dark clothing got out of a car brandishing what appeared to be a handgun and a sledgehammer and threatened a G4S security guard making a delivery to the bank.

They then went inside the bank and demanded money before fleeing the scene in a waiting dark grey Ford Mondeo car, bearing the registration plate MA09 NKR, which was being driven by a third person.

The car was later found abandoned on Rushwood Park, Standish, at 10.15am that morning.

Around this time, a green van with a window along the driver’s side panel was seen leaving Primrose Lane and driving on to Preston Road.

It is not known whether the green van is connected with the robbery and detectives are keen to trace the van and its driver in order to eliminate them from the enquiry.

Following the robbery, the offenders were followed by an unmarked police car carrying three plain-clothed detectives before they stopped the vehicle at the junction of Holbrook Road and Balshaw Lane.

At this stage, a male offender got out wearing dark clothing, gloves, a balaclava, and brandishing a sledgehammer.

He approached the police car and smashed the windscreen and the driver’s window, striking one of the detectives on the shoulder with the sledgehammer, before removing the car keys and throwing them away.

The offender then returned to the stolen vehicle and made off leaving the detective with minor injuries.