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Homes in Cryol Road, Ashford evacuated after raid on Co-Op in Faversham Road

People were forced to leave their homes as bomb disposal experts swooped on a car thought to have been involved in a convenience store raid.

It came as police probed the incident at the Co-op in Faversham Road, Kennington, in the early hours of Thursday.

It is believed thieves used explosives to damage an ATM and the bomb disposal team was called in to help safely remove it.

Police at the supermarket (7056717)
Police at the supermarket (7056717)

The cash machine was removed from the building, causing damage to the shop front as a result. A quantity of cash was subsequently stolen from the machine.

At 11.30pm last night police recovered a black Volkswagon Passat in Cryol Road, assisted by the Ministry of Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.

Residents in the surrounding area were advised to leave their properties as a precaution. They have now been allowed to return to their homes.

Detectives continue to pursue a number of lines of enquiry and seek witnesses to the cash theft.

Residents living near the supermarket reported hearing a loud bang in the early hours during the raid.

Mary Brown, who lives in Burton Road, says she regularly uses the store.

Thieves used explosives to raid the store (7056720)
Thieves used explosives to raid the store (7056720)

"I heard a bang during the night but thought something had just fallen over in the house," she said.

"I use the Co-op all the time - it has lovely staff."

A Co-op spokesman said: “We can confirm that there was an incident at our Faversham Road store in the early hours of Thursday.

"Fortunately, no one was present.

The Co-op has been boarded up (7056889)
The Co-op has been boarded up (7056889)

"The store is closed whilst we assess the damage and we apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.

“Our stores in Hunter Avenue and Brookfield are open to serve the local community.

"The Co-op takes retail crime very seriously and implements a range of measures to both deter criminal activity and to aid convictions.

"We appeal for anyone with information to come forward to the police.”

In November, thieves smashed their way through the front of the building, swiping scratch cards, alcohol and cigarettes at about 2.30am.

It came just a month after brave teenager Brandon Hook, 16, faced off with a hammer-wielding robber outside the store.

He stepped in when a member of staff was threatened with the hammer.

Anyone who has information, CCTV or dash cam footage that could assist the investigation is asked to call Kent Police on 01843 222289 quoting reference 07-0140.

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