Published: 08:51, 08 November 2019
| Updated: 14:53, 08 November 2019
Thieves smashed through the front of a Co-op with a 4x4 - and escaped with a "substantial" amount of money.
Police taped off the shop in Wye near Ashford after the cash machine was targeted at 1.45am.
The front of the Churchfield Way store has been heavily damaged, with the ATM lying on the path.
A police spokesman said thieves got away with the cash box from the machine, which contained a "substantial amount of money".
A security guard who works at the nearby Wye College said he first saw people acting suspiciously at 11pm.
A few hours later, he saw a silver Mitsubishi Shogun reversing into the Co-op.
He said: "A white Vauxhall Astra estate car had been driving around the village since 11pm.
"It kept circling the village and I thought it looked suspicious.
"It then drove up the road and was followed by a white Ford Transit Connect van.
"At first I thought they were trying to steal a car and they were all dressed in black.
"The village is very quiet at night and at about 1.45am I heard a loud bang.
"I got my dog out because I thought someone was going to break into the college.
"I noticed that a [Mitsubishi] Shogun was ramming into the Co-op.
"A young couple were sitting in their car nearby and called the police - they were there within three minutes.
"The ATM machine was on the pavement outside the shop.
"All the cars drove off and the shopkeeper turned up and started chasing them up the road.
"I spotted about five people involved - I don't think they could have picked the machine up.
VIDEO: The morning after the ram-raid at Wye Co-op
"I have been working in the village since July and I've never seen anything like this happen."
Co-op bosses say it is not yet known when the raided store will reopen.
Detective Sergeant Jason Booth confirmed witnesses saw a silver 4x4 and Vauxhall Astra leave the scene.
He said: "We have been carrying out our initial inquiries at the scene and have spoken to a number of witnesses.
"We would ask anyone else who has information and has not yet been in touch to provide details by calling us on 01843 222289, quoting reference 08-0077.
"We would also like to speak to anyone who has CCTV or dashcam footage in the area of Churchfield Way between midnight and 3am, which could help us trace the movements of the suspects who were all believed to be wearing dark clothing."
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More by this authorDan Wright