In the Media

Thieves bulldoze cash machine from wall…then find getaway car won't start

PUBLISHED August 6, 2012

The pair had loaded the ATM onto the back of a pick-up truck but had to leave their spoils after the engine would not start.

The men were last seen by witnesses running off into the night abandoning their truck and their loot.

The attempted burglary happened at 3.10am on Monday at the branch of Barclays Bank on Keymer Road in Hassocks, Sussex.

Homes in the area had to be evacuated during the night as the building was deemed unsafe.

Pete Skolimowski, 50, who owns a shop just a few doors down from the bank said: 'I arrived in this morning at 6.20am and the road was already closed off.

'The pick-up truck was still there then but they moved it a couple of hours later.

'I heard that the truck wouldn't start and that is why they were forced to abandon it.

'They didn't get away with any money which is the main thing.'

A Sussex Police spokesman said: 'At 3.15am on Monday 6 August, police went to Barclays Bank in Keymer Road, Hassocks, after local residents had reported that an industrial digger vehicle had driven into the front of the bank, and dragged out the cashpoint machine installed in the wall.

'The digger placed the machine on an adjacent stationary blue Toyota pick-up truck but the drivers of both vehicles, who are described as wearing dark clothing, then ran off in the direction of Chancellors Park leaving the unopened cash machine on the truck.

'Keymer Road is currently closed to traffic whilst the scene is examined, the building made safe, and the two vehicles are removed.

'Anyone who saw what happened or who has any other information about the incident is asked to contact us'.

Police also added that they had not yet determined why the robbers had run off but that the investigation was ongoing.

The raid happened just two weeks after a similar robbery in Needham Market, Suffolk.

At 3.30am on July 27 a large JCB digger was used to drive into the ATM at Barclays Bank in Barretts Lane, Needham Market. It left a gaping hole in the building.

After failing to get the cash machine free from the building, the man, who wearing a baseball cap, then drove off in the digger, before abandoning it in a nearby field.

The robbery has striking similarities to the incident in Hassocks, 126 miles away, which happened at 3.10am and during which a digger was used by two men.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: 'Naturally investigators will always look at similar jobs in case any connection can be established.'

But he added that the method of ram raids was usually the same and that this doesn't automatically indicate a connection between the two robberies.

The digger used in yesterday's raid was stolen earlier in the night, police said.

A spokesman confirmed the digger had been stolen earlier during the same night from a quarry at Plumpton in East Sussex.

The digger was used to place the ATM which had been ripped from the bank on a stationary blue Toyota pick-up truck.

The two robbers did not manage to escape with the ATM or the pick-up truck and it is though this may be due to the fact it broke down.

One local who did not wish to be named said they had heard the weight of the cash machine and proved 'too heavy' for the truck which is why it did not start.

Another described the robbery as 'a bit of a cock-up.'

The truck was finally removed by police at 8.30am this morning, locals said.

Keymer Road in Hassocks, where the incident happened, was closed to traffic whilst the scene was examined, the building made safe, and the two vehicles were removed.

Temporary traffic lights were being installed to enable one-way working while building examination and repair continues this afternoon.

Both men are described as wearing dark clothing, and the truck driver is additionally described as being about 6', slim, and wearing a hoody.

Detective Sergeant Steve Tattersall said; "The enquiry is at an early stage and it is not yet clear why the two men abandoned the vehicles and ran off without the cash machine.

"There have been no recent such offences in Sussex and at present we are not linking this with any offences elsewhere in the country.

"Anyone who saw what happened or who has any other information about the incident is asked to contact us.

"In particular the digger, being driven west during the early hours across from Plumpton which is further along the B2116, would surely have been noticed by anyone was up and about at the time."