Cash machine stolen in ram raid

Dramatic pictures show the aftermath of a ram raid in which a cash machine was wrenched from a shop in the early hours. The balaclava-clad thieves struck at the Family Shopper store in St Martins Hill, Canterbury – with police alerted at 2.36am.

The digger at the scene in St Martin's Hill, Canterbury The digger at the scene in St Martin’s Hill, CanterburyThe road has been closed The road has been closed

One eyewitness says police cars arriving at the scene were rammed by a 4×4 trying to block them off. A Kent Police spokesman said: “It was reported that a digger had been driven into the front of the building, causing a substantial amount of damage.

“Two vehicles, including a white Range Rover Evoque and a white pick-up truck are said to have been outside the shop at the time of the incident and left the scene, travelling towards Littlebourne.”

The cash machine was recovered on the A257, Littlebourne Road and officers arrested a 29-year-old man on suspicion of burglary. The road was shut this morning but has since reopened. The scene in St Martin’s Hill this morning after the ram raid

At the scene this morning, a fence leading nearby to Taylor Wimpey Royal Parade has been smashed down. Muddy tyre tracks then lead to the digger outside Family Shopper. Meanwhile, a 4×4 appears to have been in a collision with a police car.

And there are also blood stains on the roof of a Skoda at the scene.

A fence linking to the nearby Taylor Wimpey Royal Parade development has been smashed down A fence linking to the nearby Taylor Wimpey Royal Parade development has been smashed downThere appears to have been a collision between a 4x4 and a police car There appears to have been a collision between a 4×4 and a police car

An eyewitness, who did not want to be named, told KentOnline they were woken by a rumbling sound.

“We came outside, went to the corner of the road, and noticed there was a big digger tracking down the road,” he said. “Then we went back in, laid back down – then we just heard the bang. “We came back out and the digger was there taking it to work at the cash point.

“There were a couple of geezers wearing balaclavas and then they just skirted off.” Early morning footage of the ram raid in Canterbury The drama continued when the police arrived, according to the eyewitness.

“The people doing the robbery had a Land Rover at the top of the hill and they were just ramming police cars as they came up to block them off – it was mental,” he said. The store owner Ashish Patel, 40, said the tenants who live above the shop alerted him at about 2.30am and was “completely shocked” by the incident. He says the damage will cost GBP50,000 to repair and may take up to six weeks to complete.

“We are hoping to stay open,” he said. “It depends on the staff and if we feel something bad will happen, we will close it.” He has praised members of the public who were quick to report the incident to police. The incident is being investigated by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate and inquiries are ongoing.

Witnesses or anyone with information are urged to call the appeal line on 01843 222289 quoting the reference number 12-0100. You can also call the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or complete the online form here. A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey, the developers of Royal Parade, say they are reviewing security measures at the site and the damaged fencing has since been restored to re-secure the plot.

We are aware that an incident has taken place near to our Royal Parade development in Canterbury and are assisting the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate with their enquiries,” they said.

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