WITNESSES have described the terrifying moment a masked knifeman stormed a bank stealing 'a wad of cash.'

Lloyds Bank, in Basildon Town Centre was targeted this morning.

The man entered the bank and threatened staff.

A market trader who called the police said: "I was setting up my stall and suddenly heard screams, a woman was screaming that the bank was being robbed.

"Someone shouted to me to tell the police so I called quickly.

"A man, like a good samaritan, chased the thief down the street.

"I heard it was cash taken, I think it's crazy, you don't expect this to happen in these days."

Essex Police has issued an urgent appeal for information. 

An Essex Police spokesman said: "We are appealing for information following an armed robbery in Lloyds, in Town Square, Basildon, at around 9.15am today, Thursday, January 3.

"A man armed with a knife entered the bank and threatened a member of staff.

"He then ran from the scene in the direction of Basildon train station. No one was hurt but staff were left shaken by the incident."

The man is described as being white, between 5ft 9ins and 5ft 11ins tall, of a slim build and aged in his late 20s to early 30s. 

He wore grey hooded top, grey tracksuit bottoms that were tucked into football socks and black trainers.

Anyone with information is asked to call Basildon CID on 101 quoting 200 of 03/01 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.