Suffolk/East Anglia: Detectives stepping up hunt for hole-in-the-wall gang

DETECTIVES are today hunting thieves who have carried out at least nine raids across the eastern region using stolen JCBs to rip out cash machines.

The latest occurred yesterday morning at Tesco Express in Taverham, Norfolk, and follows similar early-morning incidents in Hadleigh and Needham Market during this year.

After the attempted theft in Taverham Detective Inspector Richard Graveling, of Norfolk Constabulary, said: “We are linking the incident at Taverham with other raids both in Norfolk and across the region, and are working with other forces as part of our inquiries.

“Officers are continuing to work at the scene and will be speaking to witnesses. Crime scene investigators are also examining the store and a seal remains in place.

“This type of crime affects both businesses and members of public, and we are treating it as a priority.”

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On July 28 thieves smashed a hole in the side wall of Barclays bank in High Street, Needham Market, at around 3.30am using a digger, stolen from a building site in Baylham shortly beforehand.

The JCB took a chunk of the wall out as the cash machine in Barretts Lane was taken out. However, it was left at the scene and no money was taken.

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At 3.35am on April 11 a stolen digger was used to rip out a cashpoint at Lloyds TSB in High Street, Hadleigh, at the junction with Market Place. The thieves tied ropes to the ATM and dragged it off down the road behind a car, leaving the abandoned JCB behind.

The cash machine was discarded after the cartridges with money in were removed.

Yesterday’s aborted raid in Norfolk occurred at around 1.15am using another stolen JCB. However, the raiders failed to get away with any money.

It followed similar incidents on August 2 in Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, where the perpetrators got away with a cash machine, and in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, where they fled empty-handed.

In May a substantial sum of money was stolen from inside an ATM at an HSBC branch in Reepham, Norfolk, using the same method, while an East of England Co-op store was targeted in Long Stratton in February, but the raiders did not succeed in getting away with the cash.

In addition, there have also been raids at Brundall in Norfolk, Croydon, Cambridge, Poleworth in Warwickshire, and Masham, near Ripon in North Yorkshire, during this year.

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