RAM-RAIDERS smashed into a superstore yesterday in a bid to seize the cash machine.
Shoppers and commuters travelling through Tow Law, County Durham, were met yesterday with the unusual sight of the JCB used in the attempted smash-and-grab sticking out of the Co-op supermarket.
Still firmly wedged in the front of the High Street store, the heavy-duty construction truck cannot be moved until a structural survey of the building has been carried out.
Durham Police were alerted to the robbery at 1.50am yesterday. The superstore only opened its doors to customers last November after the petrol station on the site closed down in 2002.
Arriving at the scene, officers from Crook station found the stolen JCB lodged in the building’s facade.
Police believe it was stolen from a nearby construction site of a housing development.
The hole-the-in-wall was the focus of the attempted ram-raid but thieves escaped empty-handed as the cash machine was later found still at the scene, buried under mounds of rubble.
Insp Sue Robinson, of Crook Police, said: "Our officers are out at the scene as the JCB is still there while we await a structural survey of the building because of the damage caused.
"We don’t think at this stage any cash was taken as the machine was found buried under bricks and debris.
"It is not clear if those responsible were able to gain access to the store or if they took anything from inside."
Failing in their raid the group of men, the exact number unknown, made off in a stolen Ford Transit van.
Officers later discovered the get-away vehicle dumped nearby. A Durham Police spokesman said: "A number of people heard what was going on and alerted police to the raid.
"We are now appealing for anyone else with information to contact us."
Officers this morning remained at the scene which had been cordoned off from the public.
Any witnesses to the raid should contact police on (0345) 60 60 365 or Crimestoppers on (0800) 555 111.