'Extensive damage' caused after ram raiders target Essex Co-op store
PUBLISHED: 08:20 07 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:10 07 August 2018
Ram raiders struck at an Essex convenience store in the early hours of today, stealing the cash machine and causing 'extensive damage'.
Police were called by a member of the public at 2.45am to reports of a burglary at the Co-op in Colchester Road, Halstead.
The ATM, which was stolen from the store, has since been recovered by officers along with three vehicles believed to have been involved in the incident.
Witnesses reported seeing between five to eight people near the ATM. These were believed to be men and they were wearing dark clothing.
No arrests have been made.
Officers are keen to trace the driver of a Mitsubishi Shogun which was seen in the area at the time.
The colour of this vehicle is not known.
The store is currently closed while the building is made safe by the fire service.
The attack is the latest in a long-line of ram raid incidents which have plagued Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex over the past 18 months.
More than 20 ram-raids have been reported across the three counties, with village newsagents, co-op stores and post offices all targeted.
The incidents have caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage, with many stores forced to close while repairs take place.
Detectives say they are keeping an open mind as to whether this incident is linked to others.
DI Rob Kirby, from Braintree CID, said: “Once the building has been made safe by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, we will be able to carry out a forensic examination of the scene.
“We are working to establish whether any money was stolen from the recovered ATM.
“We’re also keeping an open mind as to whether this is linked to other incidents which appear to have similarities.
“Thank you to members of the public who have assisted us so far.
“If you have any information which could help us further, please contact my team of detectives.”
A spokesman for the Co-op said: “An incident occurred at our Colchester Road, Halstead, store in the early hours of this morning.
“Extensive damage has been caused, and the police are investigating. We appeal for anyone with information to come forward.
“It is too early to confirm further details or indicate when we will be able to re-open to serve the community.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Braintree CID on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.