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Would-be thieves target cash machine at Harrietsham Co-op in raid

A cash machine was left hanging from a shop wall after thieves targeted a Co-op in Harrietsham.

A police cordon is in place this morning around the store in Buckingham Drive, near Maidstone, after the raid on late Thursday night.

KMTV report on the latest ATM attack

An ATM machine can be seen lying outside the store and windows have also been smashed. It happened directly beneath a CCTV camera.

No money was taken from the machine and police officers are asking witnesses to come forward.

A woman who lives nearbysaid: “We heard someone running around the block of flats, smacking on doors and ringing the doorbells. My boyfriend and I were quite freaked out, we stayed awake for a while and didn’t really want to look through the peephole in our door. It was quite scary.

“I didn’t actually hear a bang or anything from the incident itself though, which is strange because you can usually hear everything round here.”

Another resident described hearing a sound like an explosion.

A cash machine has been ripped out of a wall, at the Co-op in Harrietsham
A cash machine has been ripped out of a wall, at the Co-op in Harrietsham

One neighbour, who didn’t want to be named said: “We heard a loud bang about 11.45pm but the wind has been so strong lately we just thought it was that, and that the bins or something had fallen over.

"It wasn’t until this morning when we saw the police tape being put around the premises that we realised what had happened.”

The store was closed this morning, but is expected to open later today.

A spokesman for Kent Police said: "Kent Police was called at 11.45pm on ThursdayJanuary 16 2020 to a disturbance at the Co-op in Southfields Way, where damage was caused to a cash machine.

Police at the Co-op store in Harrietsham this morning
Police at the Co-op store in Harrietsham this morning

"It is reported a person also broke into the store and tried to access the machine from inside.

"No money was stolen and the suspects are said to have left in a dark coloured Volkswagen Golf, which turned left onto the A20.

"A cordon remains in place while the investigation is ongoing and assessments are being carried out to check for any structural damage to the building.

Detective Inspector James Derham said: "Whilst we are pursuing a number of lines of enquiry, we are also appealing for witnesses who have yet to speak to the police and who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area, or saw a vehicle fitting the description reported."

One of the suspects is described by police as around 6ft tall, of large build, wearing dark clothing and a balaclava.

Smashed windows can be seen at one side of the store
Smashed windows can be seen at one side of the store

A spokesman for Co-op, said: “An incident occurred at around midnight at our Harrietsham store where there was an unsuccessful attack on the community’s ATM. We appeal to anyone who may have seen or heard anything to come forward to police, who are investigating."

It comes a month after thieves used a digger to rip a safe out of a post office in Bearsted in Ashford Road, stealing an unspecified amount of money was taken. The store was reopened six days later and no arrests have been made.

There were 14 cash machine thefts across Kent last year- seven of which were at Co-ops.

Anyone with information is asked to call Kent Police on 01622 604100, quoting reference 46/9893/20, or the anonymous Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111 or by completing an online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org

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