Gang targets pub's cash machine

By Ted JeoryA PUB landlord is reviewing security after his eight-year-old daughter came face-to-face with a gang trying to tear out a cash machine from his bar.

By Ted Jeory

A PUB landlord is reviewing security after his eight-year-old daughter came face-to-face with a gang trying to tear out a cash machine from his bar.

Michael Carroll, who only moved to the Half Butt Inn in Great Horkesley 10 weeks ago, said he had been “shaking all day” at the thought of what could have happened to his daughter, Michaela.

Police are understood to be linking the incident to a series of ram-raids that have taken place this month in north Essex and Suffolk.

Mr Carroll's daughter was woken at about 3.30am yesterday by a noise coming from the bar directly below her bedroom.

A window had been smashed at the Nayland Road pub, triggering the burglar alarm, but she thought the noise was her parents moving around downstairs.

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Michaela walked down to the bar and was confronted by the burglars, who had been tying a wire cord around a stand-up cash machine.

They tried to use a car to rip the machine from the steel bolts that secured it in place, but the wire snapped.

Mr Carroll arrived within seconds and saw the back of one man as he fled through the window.

“Michaela was only about 15 feet away from these people. I haven't stopped shaking all day since it happened thinking what could have happened to my little girl,” he said.

“But she's been fine. We let her go to school and I think she's actually been enjoying telling her friends about what happened.”

Mr Carroll and his wife, Kirsty, moved to Great Horkesley after spending 12 years running pubs in the East End of London.

“I've been in this business for 32 years and nothing like this has happened to me before,” he said.

“I'm going to sit down and think about whether we actually want this cash machine here - it may be more trouble than its worth.”

His comments were echoed last night by John Parker, chairman of the Colchester and North-East Essex branch of the Licensed Victuallers' Association.

“I know landlords can make a profit out of having cash machines, but I just think they're inviting criminals,” he said.

“I certainly wouldn't advise any pubs to have them. We have enough float knocking around with tills and fruit machines, without the added danger of a machine that can hold thousands of pounds.”

The latest raid follows a ram-raid on June 17 when a cash machine containing £5,000 was ripped from the Q8 garage in Weeley.

Thousands of pounds of damage was also caused in foiled ram-raid attempts to steal cash machines from the Co-op stores in Dedham and Claydon, near Ipswich.

Anyone with information should contact Colchester police on 01206 762212.

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