A security man caused mayhem outside a Cornish bank after he accidentally triggered the alarm in his van.
Hundreds of shoppers stood and watched as the
Group 4 Securicor driver struggled with the blaring alarm.
It was in the form of a pre-recorded tape of a woman's voice shouting: "Help, help, this vehicle is under attack - call the police."
The dramatic message rang out loudly in the centre of Truro.
Several people, including a bank worker, called the police, thinking that the van was being hijacked from outside the HSBC Bank, Boscowan Street, in the city centre.
Two police officers were dispatched to deal with the incident which happened around 3.30pm yesterday.
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "We had at least two calls from members of the public who were very concerned that the van was indeed under attack.
"When police officers arrived on the scene the driver explained that he had accidentally set the van's alarm off. Although this was a genuine error we would always encourage members of the public to ring us if they suspect a robbery is taking place."
Shoppers told how the alarm continued to sound as the man drove the navy blue-coloured van out of the city.
Josh Fuller, 18, a student, from Redruth said: "It was dead funny. The bloke behind the wheel of the van was really panicking and fiddling around with buttons inside the van. I felt sorry for him when the police turned up - he looked really embarrassed."
A spokeswoman for Group 4 Securicor said: "This indeed was a mistake and we would like to apologise to members of the public for the alarm going off.
"All of our vans have pre-set alarms and it would appear the driver hit it by mistake."