Security risk at Co-op Bank Chelmsford. DannyUK: Pratt
It wasn’t too long ago that I worked for the Co-op Bank. So when I drove past on Friday night sometime around 9pm, I was surprised to see the security shutters were up and the lights were on inside.
Every day that I worked at the bank, without fail, the security shutters went down at 5pm when it closed. If they weren’t pulled down, customers would venture into the small porch-like area and try to get through the set of glass double-doors to get to the bank lobby.
I’d been working late, which was the only reason I had been in the city centre. I was feeling upbeat as I’d already captured the photo of Shire Hall that I used for My Sunday Photo as was pleased that it looked so good.
But with the bank, I wasn’t sure what to do. I hold a lot of resentment for the bank in the way that they treated me, including (but not limited to) their reaction when a customer dropped dead in front of me.
If they were robbed… Well, they were insured. My head said that I should ignore it. I couldn’t help thinking that it was just a little too odd, though.
Co-op Bank Chelmsford
By now I had driven past the bank and into the main road to take me home.
With conflicting thoughts about what I should do, I found myself suddenly cursing loudly, flicking the car indicator on and diverting back to the bank.
I pulled up nearby. Winter is definitely setting in quickly and the chill in the air confirmed that. Being 9pm it was also dark.
I zipped my coat up, put my head down as I strolled past two guys drinking cans of cider by the shopping centre and mentally braced myself for what I was going to do when I got there.
Bravery is certainly not my middle name and as I approached the open shutter I could feel my belly rumbling.
What if there was an armed robbery going on? That would explain why the shutters were open. It could also offer an explanation as to why the lights were on.
Only a pratt would venture any further. The sensible thing to do would be to contact someone. The police, maybe. Co-op Bank Head Office, perhaps.
I rang the bell.
There was no answer, and the two or three backwards steps I had taken to allow me a quick escape if I suddenly saw something odd allowed me to scan the downstairs of the branch.
No lights on down there. The Co-op Bank in Chelmsford is unusual in so far as it has three floors and only the top floor was lit up.
The main safe is situated on the ground floor. They’ll hate me “revealing” that, but in my defence the 7ft square safe door that protects the money would be an instant giveaway to anyone walking past as they looked to steal something.
The lack of response from my bell ring by had emboldened me. I stepped forward, into the porch that was just beyond the security shutters. I tried the double doors in front of me. These were also supposed to be locked as part of the nightly security check before leaving the building.
I grabbed the handles on both doors and gave them a quick push and pull. Both locked. Phew.
I decided to leave it there. There wasn’t anything I could do on site (though had I got through the double doors, I have no idea what my next step would have been as there are more locked doors inside)
As I ventured back to the car, I wrote a Facebook status update to try attract the attention of anyone on my friends list that still worked there. I then tweeted the Co-op Bank help team.
Lastly I called 101, the non-emergency number for local police.
After being put through to the right team, I was held in a queue. I waited several minutes before giving up.
As I drove back, I comforted myself with the thought that I had, at least, checked it out and informed someone. I also giggled slightly at the thought that the porch would no doubt make the ideal peeing and / or puking place for passing inebriates.
I received a tweet a short while later saying that the bank were looking into it, and heard via Facebook that there was an issue with the shutter which is why it had been left up.
And thus, that was the most exciting part of my weekend.