Brazen thieves steal ATM cashpoint after smashing Co-op wall
BRAZEN thieves shocked a community after using a stolenÂ forkliftÂ toÂ ploughÂ into a Co-opÂ in Clanfield before escaping with a cashpoint.
The crime gang, seeking to leave no trail of evidence, thenÂ blew up theÂ Manitou forklift used to smash the wall down before makingÂ off from the store inÂ White Dirt Lane around 3.30am this morning.
A giant hole in the Co-op wall has been leftÂ with debrisÂ scattered across theÂ car park following the incident '“Â described by residents as like something from a '˜war zone' after a massive explosion was heard.
Fire crews from Cosham attended the sceneÂ with the blaze extinguished by 4.30am.
Police were also on site andÂ are now appealing for witnesses whoÂ may have seen a white vehicle speeding off.Residents described their horror after beingÂ woken up.
Gemma Barthaud, 38, added: '˜We were woken up by a massive bang then there was mayhem with emergency services everywhere. You don't expectÂ this sort of thingÂ in a quiet village like this.'
Another resident said she was woken to the sound of a bang. '˜It was really scary '“Â I just heard a loudÂ bang,' she said.
'˜I saw a tractor smash into the the wall and then load the ATMÂ into a dump truck. They then blew up the tractor and sped off. I was worried there may be an explosion which could danger us. I phoned the police and they told us top get away from the window.
'˜I was worried about our safety. It was really scary to watch.'
It is not known how much money was taken.
A similar incident also took place atÂ nearby Waterlooville Leisure Centre around midnightÂ where thieves smashed four glass panels before getting into the building and breaking openÂ the ATM '“Â making off with an undisclosed amount of cash.
The incidentÂ angered people who turned up this morning to use the centre. Georgina Smith, 25, said: '˜I can't believes it '“Â what a nightmare especially with it the school holidays and there children about. There's some real scumbags around. HopefullyÂ they find who did it.'
Howard Broad,Â chief executive of the centre, said: '˜It is a shock and you don't expect to come to work and find this. It takes some nerve to do this especially when there is CCTV. It looks like they've looked at the best way of getting in before deciding to smashÂ the external windows to get in.
'˜It's too early to tell how much money they have taken but it can't have been worth the risk as we don't have much money stored in the ATM.'
Police are investigating both incidents. Anyone with any information shouldÂ Â call 101 quoting 44180283769.
A Southern Co-operative spokeswoman said: '˜We can confirm that we are currently working towards opening the store on Sunday 29 July. We would like to thank customers for their understanding.'