Independent retailer Joe Williams, of The Village Shop, in Hook Norton, Oxfordshire, has removed his ATM after reading reports about a ram-raiding gang in the local press.

Joe decided not to renew his ATM contract at the end of last month. After installing an in-store Post Office two years ago, he saw ATM footfall drop off and believes it is ’a happy coincidence’ that his store is now less of a target for criminal gangs.

Joe said: ”The biggest problem is not necessarily these gangs stealing the ATM but it is the damage that these incidents cause to the rest of the building. After seeing what happened to Julian [Taylor Green] and other retailers, I’m glad that we no longer have one in our store.

“The way these gangs take the ATMs is becoming more serious. As providers increase security, these gangs are becoming more drastic in their methods to steal the machines.”

The ATM in Joe’s Hook Norton store was the only cashpoint in the area for about four miles. However, most customers now use the Post Office to withdraw cash for free, rather than paying a £1.65 fee.

He added: “As people move more towards cards, I have to question the existence of the ATM, especially when there are so many really close together. The machine providers always want to tie you into a contract and you can’t kmove it around the store unless you pay them to do it.

“For something that only makes me about £20 a month, it is much better that I use the space to make more profit and offer more products. We are lucky that we have railings and a bank that stops vehicles from parking right next to the shop front.”