The town too dangerous for NatWest! Century-old bank leaves London suburb after SEVENTH armed raid in 11 years
West Norwood branch, established in 1896, has left to preserve 'health and safety' of customers and staff The branch is five minutes away from where singer Adele once livedIn days of the branch closing, a gang robbed the nearby Tesco Express and assaulted a member of staff in a nearby Tesco
12:27 GMT, 2 December 2012
A High Street bank has left a London suburb after more than a century because bosses say it is now 'too dangerous to stay'.
NatWest has closed its West Norwood branch, which opened in 1896, after armed raiders threatened staff for the seventh time in 11 years.
The situation in the south London town became so bad it is believed the bank had problems finding staff to work there.
NatWest has closed its West Norwood branch, which opened in 1896, after armed raiders threatened staff for the seventh time in 11 years
There was no warning to customers ahead of the decision to remove all the bank machines but a notice in the window claims the closure is for the 'health and safety of staff and customers', the Sunday Express has said.
NatWest customer Harley Faggetter said more police presence was needed to patrol the street.
He said: 'I'm just saddened by the situation in West Norwood when the rampant gang violence and behaviour has got to a stage when they can force out a bank,' he said.
The bank is just a five-minute walk from the flat where singer Adele lived as a 16-year-old above her flower shop.
There is a notice in the window which claims the closure is for the 'health and safety of staff and customers'
It is believed to be where she penned her hit Hometown Glory.
Councillor John Whelan said: 'It is really bad news. It is pretty depressing from the point of view of the revival of the area.'
Dulwich and West Norwood Labour MP Tessa Jowell said: 'This is a body blow to residents and businesses.'
NatWest said it had taken the decision in the interests of the safety of customers, staff and the community.
The decision has come after a spate of muggings near cash dispensers at Nat-West and Barclays, now the street's only bank.
And within days of the branch closing, a gang robbed West Norwood's Tesco Express and assaulted a member of staff in a nearby Tesco.
A witness saw about 20 people get off a bus and 'fill their pockets with stock'