A BANK in Colchester which has just been refurbished has already been forced to close after a thug destroyed its new state-of-the-art machines, leaving staff and customers "extremely shaken".

Colchester's last remaining HSBC bank, in High Street, has temporarily shut down after its ATMs and pay-in machines suffered serious damage at the hands of a violent vandal.

According to reports, the man destroyed the machines before being escorted away from the scene by the police, startling passer-byers inside and outside of the bank.

As a result of the damage, the site is set to remain closed until next Tuesday. 

While the repairs are carried out, customers are being encouraged to use their nearest Post Office for day-to-day banking transactions.

Gazette: Smashed - Damage done to the ATMSmashed - Damage done to the ATM (Image: HSBC)

Customers can also use mobile and online banking, which are both available 24/7, or call the contact centre on 03457 404 404. Business customers, meanwhile, can call 03457 60 60 60. 

Alternatively, while the Colchester branch is out of action, customers can use HSBC sites in Bank Street, Braintree, or in Tavern Street, Ipswich. 

This incident comes shortly after the bank went through a fancy refurbishment which saw the building closed for three weeks in February. 

Gazette: Closed - HSBC in Colchester High StreetClosed - HSBC in Colchester High Street (Image: Google Maps)
HSBC provided customers with a pop-up banking service which helped to support customers during the closure.

The closure was announced so workers could install new state-of-the-art machines for depositing and withdrawing cash.

Karen Collier, HSBC UK’s Local Director, said: “We want to be here for our customers to help them with their banking needs whether it is opening an account, giving them access to cash, helping them sort things out if they have become a victim of a scam or if they have had a life-event they need to discuss with us.

"An incident in the branch on Wednesday afternoon not only left a lot of our equipment needing to be repaired or replaced, but it also left a number of our branch colleagues and customers who were present extremely shaken.

"Putting customers and branch colleagues in this situation is not acceptable.”

An Essex Police spokesman said: "We’re investigating an incident in High Street, Colchester, which was reported to us shortly before 2pm on Wednesday 27 March.

"It was reported that a man had entered a premises and caused a large amount of damage before leaving.

"No arrests have been made and our targeted enquiries are ongoing.

"Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information on it to get in touch. 

"You can let us know by submitting a report on our website or by using our online Live Chat service available Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) between 10am-9pm.

"Visit www.essex.police.uk/digital101 to find out more about our website reporting services.

"Alternatively, you can call us on 101.

"Please cite crime reference 42/49802/24."