UPDATE: Ram-raiders use digger in an attempt to steal cash machine

Co-op ram-raid. Photo by Brown Bear Photography
Co-op ram-raid. Photo by Brown Bear Photography

Police are investigating a ram raid at the new Co-op store in Leighton Buzzard in the early hours of this morning.

Officers were called shortly after 1am by a member of the public reporting damage to the new Co-op convenience store which opened last month.

A JCB was used in an attempt to remove the cash machine from the outside wall of the convenience store on Stanbridge Road.

A spokesperson for Bedfordshire Police said: “Officers attended the scene, where an attempt had been made to steal a cash machine from the store.

“Extensive damage has been caused to the front of the store and a JCB has been left in situ.

“Police are investigating the incident and are linking in with partners across the region to share intelligence and help prevent further offences.

“We would urge anyone who witnessed the incident, or has any information, to contact the police on 101 quoting the reference 16 of today.”

A passer-by who saw the digger outside the store this morning said: “I pop to a shop near here to get a paper and saw the digger, I spoke to a lady and she said it happened in the early hours of the morning.

“They had a getaway vehicle, it seems like they got spooked by the police and done a runner, leaving it all behind.”

It’s not the first time a Leighton Buzzard business has had its cash machine targeted in recent times.

Santander, in Hockliffe Street, was shut for several weeks in February, after would-be robbers used a JCB to smash through the front of the bank in an attempt to lift its cash machine.

However they fled empty handed, leaving the excavator embedded in the bank’s lobby.

A Spokesperson for the Co-op confirmed: “There was an attempted raid on the ATM at our Stanbridge Road store at approximately 1am in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday, 8 November).

“The Police are investigating and we appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

“Extensive damage has been caused however, the store has remained open to serve the community.”

Police have issued this advice to businesses:

• Ensure all windows and doors are locked that are not in use and all secured at the end of the working day.

• Try to block any main access points from the road. For example if your shop is located on a high street, try to ensure a vehicle is parked outside.

• If there is a car park for the location, explore whether this can be blocked off in any way after the hours of business

• If you do have an ATM machine, ensure it is highly secured and in a position that is not easy to access. Ensure it is covered by CCTV.

• Do you have anti-ram bollards installed? Although there may be cost implications initially, this could be a lot less than the repair and recovery cost.

• Ensure that your alarm is in full working order.

• Ensure that your CCTV system is in full working order and that the camera lenses are not obscured by cobwebs or overgrown greenery.

• Make it obvious that CCTV is monitoring by displaying bright signage both internally and externally.

• Speak to any neighbouring properties; ensure they call the police if anything suspicious is seen.

Did you see the incident? Call the LBO on 01582 798558 or email news@lbobserver.co.uk