Ram raid sees Havant's Meridian Centre left with a repair bill '˜in the thousands' after Land Rover smashes through doorsÂ

A PROFESSIONAL thief took less than two minutes to ram his way into a shopping centre in planned raid on an ATM, the boss of the retail site has revealed.

Tuesday, 4th December 2018, 4:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 8:28 am
The aftermath of the ram raid at the Meridian Centre in Havant

Rob Fryer, manager of the Meridian Centre, in Havant, said the site would be bolstering its security after the break-in early on Monday morning.

Mr Fryer said it was '˜too early to tell' exactly how much damage had been caused to the centre but suspected the repair bill would '˜run into the thousands'.

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The aftermath of the ram raid at the Meridian Centre in Havant

It is not clear what amount of cash was stolen from the ATM in the early-morning heist.

However, Mr Fryer said the burglary was committed by a lone thief, who drove a stolen Land Rover through the doors of the centre before later torching the vehicle in nearby Springwell Place.

'˜It looked like somebody had done their homework,' he told The News. '˜CCTV has not helped as there is no visible picture of their face.'

The incident is the latest in a string of similar ATM ram raids across Hampshire and Sussex '“ although police suspect this ram raid is not being linked to other similar incidents including ones at the Co-op stores in Denmead, Cowplain and Clanfield from earlier this year. 

The blaze

Mr Fryer is now in talks with police and officials from Havant Borough Council about the crime.

Meanwhile, security patrols in the centre have been bumped, with vigilant officers monitoring those coming and out of the centre, whole repairs are made to the shopping destination's broken door.

Mr Fryer added: '˜I have been here seven years and nothing like this has happened before at the centre.

'˜It's a bit of a shock. We have reviewed our security measures and talked to the council about this.'

The aftermath of the fire

The incident happened between 2.30am and 2.45am on Monday.

A spokeswoman for Hampshire police said: '˜The suspect was described as wearing a high-vis jacket with a hood attached, light blue jeans and black top underneath the jacket. 

'˜Extensive damage was caused to the car.'

Anyone with information about the raid should call police on 101 quoting reference number 44180450736.