ARMED robbers burst into a bank as it was closing.

It is understood up to four robbers brandishing shotguns targeted the small HSBC branch in Hillview Road, opposite the Asda store in Astley Bridge.

The incident happened at around 4.30pm yesterday as staff were closing up for the day.

The gunmen burst into the bank but fled the branch empty handed after threatening staff.

It is not yet known how they made their getaway.

No shots were fired and no one was injured in the raid.

But it is believed there were no customers in the bank at the time.

A police hunt for the armed gang has been launched.

One passer-by who watched the drama unfold said: “All the staff are ok, they were not hurt and no shots were discharged.

“It looks like there were three men who threatened staff but no money was taken.”

A police cordon was set up outside the branch and detectives are interviewing staff inside the branch.

They have also quizzed witnesses who saw the incident unfold in a bid to gather more information about the robbers.

A police spokesman said: “Police received a call just before 4.30pm of reports of a robbery.

“Three or four men were reported to be running into the bank carrying shotguns.

“No-one was injured and no shots discharged and at it appears no money was taken.”

He added: “Police inquiries are ongoing. Witnesses are asked to ring Bolton CID on 0161 856 7540.”

Anyone with information can also contact the charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

No one from HSBC was available for comment.