PART of Hartlepool town centre was sealed off after an attempted robbery at a building society on Saturday morning.
Detectives are now hunting the raider after he fled the premises.
A large police presence, including armed officers, attended the scene of the incident at Darlington Building Society, in York Road.
York Road was initially closed between Victoria Road and the ramp near Hartlepool Central Library with a police cordon in place.
But it was lifted after just over an hour at around 11.15am.
A Cleveland Police spokesman said: “A man in a grey hooded top with a scarf around his face entered the building society and demanded cash.
“He then left the premises and made off. Inquiries are ongoing to trace the man.”
Anyone with any information about the raider is urged to ring non-emergency number 101.