Co-op has ‘invested heavily’ in security in bid to prevent crimes as ram-raiders steal ATM from Halstead store

Co-op store in Weavers Court Halstead, the morning after a ram raid in which a cash machine was stol

Co-op store in Weavers Court Halstead, the morning after a ram raid in which a cash machine was stolen. Picture: KIRSTY HAY - Credit: Archant

Ram-raiders smashed through the doors of a Halstead supermarket in the early hours of this morning and stole a cash machine.

Suspects have driven a blue Transit van and a blue Nissan X-trail 4x4 into the doors of the Co-Op store in Weavers Court at around 12.30am before taking a freestanding cash machine.

Three men wearing balaclavas were then seen running across the car park before driving away in dark saloon type vehicle and the Transit, which was found torched in Great Totham later this morning. The Nissan was left at the scene.

The Co-op store was closed while the damage was repaired.

Police are carrying out inquiries at the scene and are reviewing CCTV.

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An East of England Co-op spokeswoman said: “A ram raid took place at our Halstead supermarket at Weaver’s Court earlier today, during which the in-store cash machine was stolen.

“The store is currently closed whilst we tidy and make repairs. We will reopen to our members and customers as soon as possible.

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

Essex Police said a “five figure sum of cash” was stolen, and officers were currently treating the burglary as an isolated incident, but stressed detectives were “keeping an open mind”.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Christopher Sedgwick said: “Two cars were seen driving towards Factory Lane West at around the time the suspect vehicles were leaving the scene.

“It is possible these drivers may have information that could assist with my investigation, so I am keen to trace them.”

There have been at least 13 such incidents across Suffolk and north Essex in the past 18 months alone, including the attempted theft of a cash machine in Church Street, Braintree, on November 8 and Long Melford on November 12.

An East of England Co-op spokeswoman said: “As a community retailer people rely heavily on our services and an incident like this has far-reaching effects.

“Not only does the community lose the services of the ATM but our customers also lose access to other services whilst damage is assessed and repaired. It can also be distressing for our colleagues.

“We have invested heavily in our security services, including a state-of-the-art Alarm Receiving Centre from which we monitor over 6,000 CCTV cameras 24/7, 365 days a year. This enables us to see any potential incidents and alert police.

“Incidents like these are never acceptable. We are working closely with police, local authorities and other agencies in a unique multi-agency approach, to share intelligence and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.”

A Braintree District Community Safety Partnership spokesperson said: “This type of crime is a concern for communities and community safety partners will continue to work together in combating crime across the Braintree district.

“The partnership urges communities to remain vigilant and report any information regarding any crimes to either Essex Police directly, or via Crimestoppers.”

Anyone with information, CCTV or dash cam footage is asked to contact Braintree Criminal Investigations Department quoting incident 19 of today or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

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