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Co-op double reward for information after latest ram raid in Lavenham

PUBLISHED: 06:24 22 December 2017 | UPDATED: 06:43 22 December 2017

A vehicle has been reversed into a Co-op store in Lavenham. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A vehicle has been reversed into a Co-op store in Lavenham. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A reward for information has been doubled after another ram raid took place in an idyllic Suffolk village in the early hours of yesterday.

The Lavenham shop is the latest Co-op to be targeted by ram raiders. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe Lavenham shop is the latest Co-op to be targeted by ram raiders. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The East of England Co-op has now issued a £40,000 reward after its Lavenham store – a Grade II-listed building – was targeted around 1.15am.

A Suburu estate vehicle was “reversed right through the middle” of the Co-op Foodhall store in the village’s High Street.

It is believed a cash machine was targeted in the incident but it was not stolen and no arrests have so far been made.

The latest incident follows more than 20 similar attacks across Suffolk and Essex this year alone and Suffolk Constabulary says the case is “a priority”.

Produce from the shop covered the pavement yesterday morning. Picture: GREGG BROWNProduce from the shop covered the pavement yesterday morning. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The incident has prompted calls from councillors to be informed of police action to tackle the spate of raids.

In a combined statement, Babergh councillors John Nunn and Richard Kemp said: “This type of crime has now entered epidemic proportions within a comparatively small radius of East Anglia.

“Over the last fifteen months the crime has repeated itself into the high teens. We are being asked by residents what are the police doing to bring this to a close?

“The answer we have as councillors is that we do not know and are not informed. So the question posed, as this crime is getting to almost farcical proportions, is what action are the police taking?”

Carroll Reeve, chairman of Lavenham Parish Council, said: “Aside from the crime aspect, the incident was very dangerous.

“It is a listed building and the cash machine is in the middle of the shop so they could have pulled the whole building down on top of themselves or others.”

Lee Hammond, head of security at the East of England Co-op, said further security measures have been introduced to counter the attacks.

He said: “Our state-of-the-art alarm receiving centre enables us to monitor each of our stores 24 hours a day, and we’ve introduced further security measures including removing cash from our ATMs.

“We have our own security team who were able to respond swiftly, along with the police.

“We are offering a reward of £40,000 for information that leads to a successful conviction of those behind the recent spate of ram raids across Suffolk and Essex.”

James Cartlidge, MP for South Suffolk, said: “I was already getting a sense that crime was growing as an issue in the constituency, with a spate of incidents such as these, as well as burglaries and thefts from agricultural premises.

“That’s why I welcomed the announcement this week that police and crime commissioners can raise the precept, but with the caveat that most result in demonstrable results in terms of more visible policing and more officers on the beat.

“When these crimes happen, particularly in rural, quiet idyllic villages such as Lavenham, it shocks people’s sense of security and safety, particularly at this time of year.”

Anyone with information can contact Suffolk police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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