Mr Wheatley has been dubbed the ‘skull cracker’ after he reportedly hit his victims on the head with a gun during raids; one of whom was a 73-year-old woman.

He went missing after temporarily being allowed to leave HMP Standford open prison.

The bank robber, 55, was last seen on Monday evening but officers could not find him. Scotland Yard has confirmed that ‘inquiries are continuing’ and has urged members of the public to call 999 if they spot Mr Wheatley – but not to approach him.

He was given 13 life sentences in 2002 while on parole for other raids.

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