Needham Market: neighbours slept through JCB ram-raid on Barclay’s Bank

NEIGHBOURS said they slept through an audacious attempted burglary that saw a JCB digger used to ram-raid a bank.

The incident, which is being linked to a similar crime in Hadleigh earlier this year, happened at about 3.30am on Saturday morning in Needham Market.

Workmen spent the weekend trying to secure a huge hole in the side of the Barclays branch on the High Street.

Police believe the digger was stolen from a building site in Baylham at some point between 11.30pm on Friday and 3.30am on Saturday.

The digger was used to crash a hole into the side wall of the bank in Barretts Lane.

The cash machine was pulled away but was left at the scene and no money was taken.

Barretts Lane was closed to traffic on Saturday while the hole was covered before more substantial repairs can take place.

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Neighbours were not disturbed by the crime, which they said was unusual for such a quiet market town.

One resident, who lives just across the High Street, said he had only noticed the aftermath of the failed raid when he awoke at about 5am.

Malcolm Sands said: “I woke and went to make a cup of tea. My window faces the bank and I looked out and saw the damage. I just saw the police cars and wondered what all the commotion was about – I guessed it was the bank.

“Needham Market is a relatively safe place to go about your work and business.”

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she had not known anything about the drama unfolding just yards from her home until she heard it on the radio on Saturday morning.

She said: “When I did see it I couldn’t believe it – the plaster and wood must have come away quite easily.”

Police confirmed that an eyewitness had reported seeing a man in a white cap driving the JCB, which was driven off up Barretts Lane and later found abandoned in a field.

Officers are examining CCTV footage and a spokesman said the crime was being linked to a bank raid in Hadleigh in April.

Similar incidents this year have also taken place in Reepham and Long Stratton in Norfolk, while a ram-raid took place in Grundisburgh, also in April.

Anyone who saw the incident or who may have any information is asked to contact Suffolk police on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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