A Costcutter retailer has spoken of his amazement at the brazen attitude of a ram-raid gang who launched a shocking attack on his store.
Alan Carr's Newport Village Stores in Essex was targeted by a gang of masked men just before 10pm when two female staff were in the back office. The pair pressed the panic button as the gang reversed a 4x4 through the front of the store.
The men then tied what is believed to be a fire hose around the standalone cash machine, attached it to the 4x4 and ripped the machine from its fixture, catapulting it out of the shop front. A restaurant full of diners opposite watched as the gang stopped traffic and carried out the attack.
Thanks to the quick-thinking staff, police were able to scramble a helicopter and tracked down one member of the gang and the cash machine 20 miles away just 12 minutes later.
Alan told Convenience Store: "The whole incident took less than two minutes. The cash machine was seven metres into the store and round a corner, but the force they used meant it flew out of the shop front and into the street. They sheered the gas main off in the process, so it could have been worse."
Alan praised staff and police for their fast reactions: "It was traumatising at the time, but my staff were very good and handled the situation well."
Temporary repairs ensured the store was trading again within a day, but permanent repairs are expected to cost tens of thousands of pounds.