Essex village post office is latest to suffer cash machine burglary
PUBLISHED: 11:20 26 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:45 26 March 2018
An Essex shop owner who became the latest victim in a spate of cash machine ram-raids has said rural businesses are fearing for their security.
Shailesh Patel said the burglary at his Post Office in Great Horksley, near Colchester, early yesterday morning was the first such crime he had encountered during 32 years of running the family business.
Following a string of recent raids on village shops near the Suffolk/Essex border - including at Lavenham, Dedham, and Great Cornard – Mr Patel said he had been growing concerned his business could also be targeted.
The thieves smashed their way through the shop’s glass front door, attached chains to the cash machine inside and then dragged it out using a van.
Although the raiders dumped the cash machine in the shop’s front car park without managing to steal any money from within, Mr Patel said they caused “substantial damage” to his shop and its stock.
He said he had been first alerted to noises coming from the shop and thought it was the baker making his deliveries.
“Then we heard some voices saying ‘go, go, go’ in an English sounding accent,” he added.
“That’s when I realised something was wrong.
“By the time I got out to the front of the shop I could see the van going down the street with chains sparking on the road behind it.”
Essex Police said the van, believed to be a white Ford Transit, was seen leaving the scene of the burglary, in The Causeway, at around 3.30am.
An Essex Police spokesman added: “We are investigating whether or not this is linked to other incidents where cash machines have been stolen and enquiries are ongoing.”
Mr Patel said the recent raids on shops in the area had been “in the back of my mind”, even before the latest burglary happened.
However, he has praised the response from people living in the village.
“The local people have been fantastic,” he said,
“They all came round gave us a hand cleaning up.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Essex Police on 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/40852/18.
People can also call Crimestoppers anonymously about the incident on 0800 555 111.