Published: 12:25, 30 January 2019
| Updated: 11:13, 05 February 2019
Thieves caused "considerable danger" to motorists by dragging a stolen safe along the road this morning.
Police were called out to a post office in Staplehurst High Street at 3.15am this morning, after a silver 4x4 was thought to have been used to steal a safe from inside the building.
Three offenders got inside the post office, before pulling the safe out with a rope.
The safe was tied to the vehicle and driven toward Cranbrook.
A police helicopter was launched to try and track the vehicle.
Just after 3.30am, a silver Jeep was found on fire in Cork Lane, Staplehurst.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service believe the fire, which destroyed all of the car, was started deliberately.
The safe has not been recovered.
So far police are not connecting the incident to recent ATM thefts, such as a ram raid in Headcorn last November.
District commander, chief insp Mark Hedges said: "Pulling a safe behind a vehicle in this manner was a considerable danger to other road users.
"In addition, this crime has caused disruption to a local service that many villagers depend upon.
"Our investigators have a number of lines of inquiry and we are appealing for witnesses who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area, saw the vehicle travelling into the village or leaving pulling the safe behind it."
The Post Office has confirmed it has closed its Staplehurst branch temporarily.
A spokesperson said: "The people who run our branches provide important services to local communities.
"We will be supporting the police in their efforts to apprehend those responsible."
The nearest alternative branches are in Marden High Street, Headcorn High Street and The Street, Sissinghurst.
Anyone who has information or who has CCTV or dash cam footage is asked to call Kent Police on 01622 604100 quoting reference 46/19355/19.
Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers in Kent anonymously on 0800 555111.
More by this authorLuke May