Loud crash woke people in Lakenheath as digger used to steal ATM from Lloyds’ High Street branch
- Credit: Mariam Ghaemi
Eyewitnesses have spoken of the terrifying moment they were woken by a crash as thieves rammed a digger into the wall of a Lakenheath bank.
Police are still on the scene and a section of the High Street has been closed after the yellow JCB was used to steal the ATM machine from the branch of Lloyds at about 3.50am.
Extensive damage has been caused to the front of the building - which is in a conservation area - and a spokeswoman for Lloyds said the branch would be closed until further notice in the interests of safety while they await the results of a structural survey.
A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said at least three people wearing dark clothing were seen in the area and it is thought they fled the scene in two vehicles – possibly a white car and a red pick-up style vehicle.
A 53-year-old man, who lives opposite the bank, described how he was woken by the crash in the early hours, but felt too frightened to look out of the window.
“I just didn’t want to come out there,” he said. “The wall came down. The crash woke me up. And there was a lot of shouting. I didn’t look out of the window until they had gone.”
He believed his neighbour had called the police.
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As well as damage to the bank, the Indian restaurant opposite, Little India, suffered a smashed window and damage to its wall.
Manager Jay Ali said he was “devastated”, adding the culprits must have reversed into his business so they could push forwards to target the bank.
“Unfortunately we had to be right opposite,” he said. “The only thing I can think of is they reversed back to allow space to go forwards.”
He has boarded up the restaurant window and is hoping to still open to trade.
A passerby said: “I don’t think we have had anything like that before - for something to have been ripped out of the wall.”
It is believed the JCB may have been stolen from a nearby building site.
The Lloyds Bank spokeswoman said: “The branch was empty at the time and nobody was hurt. Suffolk Police have been informed and are investigating the incident.”
Suffolk police are appealing for information about the ram-raid.
The spokeswoman said officers were alerted at about 3.50am this morning, Friday, June 23, to reports the ATM had been smashed out of the wall of the bank. A JCB was used to get the machine and this was left in the middle of the road.
She added: “Police took a further call around 4am from a member of the public who reported the pick-up appeared to be pulling the ATM. A search of the area was carried out and work is under way to trace those involved in the incident.
“The road is currently closed while a full investigation gets under way at the scene. A large part of the wall of the bank has been ripped out.”
Anyone who saw any vehicles or any suspicious activity in the area around this time this morning if asked to call west Suffolk CID by dialling Suffolk Police on 101, quoting CAD 40 of today, Friday, June 23.