‘Masked’ raiders smash and grab Earls Colne Co-op cash machine with forklift and speed off in stolen flatbed truck

Ram raid at Earls Colne Co-op. Picture: TRACY MCGRATH

Ram raid at Earls Colne Co-op. Picture: TRACY MCGRATH - Credit: Archant

Villagers were confronted with “carnage” at their local store this morning (September 4), after ram raiders destroyed the front of the Earls Colne Co-op and made off with a cash machine.

Ram raid at Earls Colne Co-op. Picture: TRACY MCGRATH

Ram raid at Earls Colne Co-op. Picture: TRACY MCGRATH - Credit: Archant

Police are investigating the theft of the ATM machine, which happened at the Earls Colne Co-op village stores, on High Street at around 4.45am.

Essex Police said they had received reports that a forklift truck had smashed into the shop before a group of men then stole the cash machine – the only one in the village – and loaded it on to a stolen Mitsubishi Canter flatbed truck.

They then drove off at speed in convoy with a black estate car, towards the direction of Halstead.

Tracy McGrath, of The Hair Shop opposite the store, said she arrived to find “carnage” this morning. She said those living in properties across the road reported seeing “masked” men with a “bulldozer”, who made off after opening the cash machine’s internal safe.

Ram raid at Earls Colne Co-op. Picture: TRACY MCGRATH

Ram raid at Earls Colne Co-op. Picture: TRACY MCGRATH - Credit: Archant

She said the machine was last filled with cash on Thursday, but since then it has been temperamental and was failing to dispense cash.

“If it was just a system problem, the machine could have been completely full,” she said. “They could have got a lot.

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“There have been loads of these recently, but this one they seem to have done a lot more damage.”

An East of England Co-op spokesperson said; “A ram raid incident took place at our Earls Colne Food Store this morning, during which the cash machine was stolen.

“Despite the damage to the front of the store, we can confirm the building is safe and we plan to reopen it to our members and customers later this afternoon. Structural engineers are currently working on repairing the damage.

“We would strongly urge anyone with any information to contact Essex Police or call Crimestoppers anonymously.”

The store reopened just before 12pm today.

• Anyone with information or any CCTV or dashcam footage is asked to contact Braintree CID or 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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