A BANK that was forced to close its doors after robbers targeted it twice in less than a month will not reopen, it has been confirmed.

RBS has announced that its branch in High Street, Little Lever, will remain closed after conducting a security review following the incidents.

The bank - the only one remaining in the village - shut at the end of May.

It was first targeted on May 19 when an armed robber with a gun was reported at the branch.

And just weeks later, on June 12, robbers attempted to steal a cashpoint from the bank.

A spokesperson for RBS said the ‘difficult decision’ had been taken to close the bank permanently.

They said: “The safety and security of our customers and staff are of upmost importance to us and unfortunately there have been a number of incidents over the last few months, which has resulted in this being compromised.

“Please be assured that this is a decision we have not come to lightly, but we feel we have no alternative.

They continued: “Our local team have now been informed and we are communicating with our customers affected by the closure as well as proactively contacting vulnerable and regular branch customers.

“We have other branches in Farnworth and Radcliffe. Our customers can also use any Post Office for straightforward cash and balance services. “

Ward councillor Sean Hornby, who will be leading a protest against the closure outside the bank on Friday, said the news was huge blow for Little Lever.

He said: “We are devastated. It’s the last remaining bank in Little Lever, it’s one that’s always been there. It was originally a Willams Deacon’s Bank, then Williams and Glyn and then RBS.

“It’s not as though it’s been anything else, and therefore it’s the last bank in Little Lever.”

Cllr Hornby said he was disappointed that the bank had taken the decision in light of its strong financial performance.

He said: “It’s sad when a company that made £938m pre-tax profit this year chooses to close a branch. Now we are left going to Farnworth or making the journey to Radcliffe.

“Little Lever is a community of nearly 15,000 people and a lot of people bank there.”

And he also said he was ‘annoyed’ about a lack of communication from the bank over the closure.

He said: “They have not even informed customers the bank is going to close. I have received no notification, where’s the loyalty to customers?

“I use the bank for personal and business banking. A lot of people have banked there for years. A lot of people had bank accounts as children and worked their way up. Where are they going to go?”

Cllr Hornby said the protest against the closure would still go ahead between 10am and 11am on Friday, and a petition of more than 700 signatures would later be handed in at RBS’ Bolton branch.

The nearest RBS branches to Little Lever are Farnworth, which is two miles away, and Radcliffe , which is two miles away.

Customers can also use Little Lever Post Office, in Market Street for ‘straightforward cash and balance services’.

Further information on the bank’s services can be found at rbs.com