Police warn cash machine ram raiders may be armed as detectives appeal for help to solve the crimes

Det supt Andy Smith from Suffolk Constabulary. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Det supt Andy Smith from Suffolk Constabulary. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Archant

Detectives investigating ram raids across Suffolk and Essex have called for the public’s help to solve the crime – and warned people against approaching offenders, who they say could be armed.

A ram raid has taken place on the Co-op at The Drift in Great Cornard. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A ram raid has taken place on the Co-op at The Drift in Great Cornard. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk Constabulary said there have been seven offences where cash machines have been targeted in the past year, while Essex Police reported 15 offences.

As well as putting in fast response plans for vulnerable premises, the forces are also working with the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), in case similar crimes elsewhere throw up a pattern or clues which may solve the offences.

The Co-op in Earls Colne has subjected to a ram raid in September. Picture: ARCHANT

The Co-op in Earls Colne has subjected to a ram raid in September. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

Detective superintendent Andy Smith, leading on the cases for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “This is a priority for us – it’s organised, serious crime.

“It can be a terrifying ordeal, particularly if it happens in front of the public, and causes extensive damage and disruption to business premises.


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“We are working with ATM providers. We need them to provide maximum security – we want to make this offence as difficult as possible, with concrete bollards, alarms and CCTV.

“The offenders take extreme steps to prevent being caught, such as wearing face coverings and gloves. We know from past experience they are often in possession of weapons, and there’s a real risk they threaten or use violence, including towards police, if encountered.

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“We need the public’s support on a number of fronts. Intelligence is the key to solving these crimes.

“Call 999 at the earliest opportunity to report suspicious activity, particularly in the vicinity of a cash machine, or if plant equipment is seen in rural locations in the early hours.

“Do not attempt to approach offenders. Call us giving a clear description of numbers of offenders, registration plates of vehicles, direction of travel – that would be fantastic.

“Some of these will undoubtedly be linked – a number have been unsuccessful attempts where we think they have tried again. But whether it’s one group committing them all, it’s difficult to say, but I think it is less likely. It is potentially a number of different criminals or groups.”

Detective chief inspector Leighton Hammett from Essex Police, added: “As with any investigation, we keep an open mind to potential connections.

“We ask the community to be vigilant as these offences require planning. If you see anyone inside a store acting suspiciously, paying particular attention to the cash machine or CCTV, we advise you make store staff aware.

“We also ask that stolen number plates are reported to us immediately. Stolen and false plates are often used on vehicles used within the thefts. Updating our system enables us to identify vehicles now displaying them.”

Essex Police said no-one had been charged, but three men from Hertfordshire were arrested in relation to an ATM stolen from the Co-op in Dunmow in April 2017. The men are on bail, and the case is being reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service.”

Call 101 with non-emergency information, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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