Worried Northern Rock customers queued for hours outside its Birmingham branch to pull money out of accounts at the beleaguered bank.

Two women worked feverishly to deal with dozens of customers, as the queue snaked out of the shop and up Temple Street in the city centre.

John Rosser, 61, and wife Dorien, 60, both retired, headed straight for their local branch when they heard the announcement that Northern Rock had been given emergency financial assistance from the Bank of England.

Mr Rosser said: "We became very concerned as soon as we heard the news last night because we have all our retirement savings in this bank. We wanted to make sure we emptied the account before it is too late. We are going to move all our funds to another bank."

Mrs Rosser said: "You can’t afford to take any chances with your money. We haven’t even been told anything by Northern Rock or been reassured that our money is secure so why take the risk."

Philip James, 69, from Birmingham said: "I called a friend who lives in Spain and she told me Northern Rock was being bailed out by the Bank of England.

"I thought ’Oh hell, I’ve got a lot of money in that bank.’

"I didn’t expect to see so many people here though, I was amazed. I am going to clear out every last penny to give me peace of mind. This is the only branch in Birmingham and I have got a special passbook account which means I can only withdraw money by coming into the bank.

"I had a feeling Northern Rock was not one of the best places to leave all my money but the interest is so good. I wish I had put it all in an ISA now."

Ray Fogg, 62, and wife June, 58, both retired, did not want to take any chances with their savings. "You have got to worry when something like this happens. We have decided to be cautious and move all our money to a different bank," they said. "We came straight to the bank when we heard the news but was surprised to see such a long queue coming out of the door.

"It shows you a lot of people are very worried about their savings."

Another customer, who asked not to be named, said: "I tried to get on the website to see what was happening with my account, but it seemed to be down and I couldn't get anywhere, so I thought I'd better get in here quickly."

Another man said he was "disappointed" how things had happened. "We had heard some rumours, but nothing at all from the bank itself," he said. "The news, when it finally came out, didn't really instil confidence in us.

"A relative who works for Northern Rock mentioned something to us about a week ago, but we didn't think much of it to be honest.

"We could well be taking our money away, we don't want to seem like we're panicking, but when news like this comes out so suddenly it makes you paranoid."

A woman who had taken the morning off work to come to the bank said: "I suppose it was inevitable you'd get a lot of people turning out who are worried.

"I've got a savings account with them, I'm not sure if I'll move, but I just want to have a word with them about what's going on."

Perhaps the most unlucky people of the day were one elderly couple who had just come down to withdraw #2,000 for a holiday of a lifetime in Greece.

"We had no idea there would be this many people here," said the man. "It looks like it might take hours, there's only a few people helping in there, but we've got no choice so I suppose we'll have to wait."