JCB ram raiders smash into store

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This was the scene of devastation left after brazen robbers used a JCB to bulldoze their way into a convenience store and try to steal a cash machine.

The audacious ram raid involved several vehicles and happened at the Co-op on Union Street in Harthill near Rotherham in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Shocked residents awoke to find the front of the shop in ruins and glass showered over the street along with masonry and bricks.

Richard Rossington, who lives directly opposite the supermarket and took the images shown, said: “We live directly opposite and heard not a thing.”

South Yorkshire Police said that the thieves struck at around 3am yesterday.

A force spokeswoman said: “Police were called at around 3am yesterday to reports of a ram raid at a supermarket in Union Street, Harthill.

“It is reported several vehicles, including a large JCB-type vehicle, rammed the front of the supermarket, in a bid to remove the cash machine.

“It is believed the suspects were unable to remove the machine successfully and a short time later, the vehicles reportedly left the scene.

“A Mazda flatbed pick-up type vehicle was recovered close by.”

The force helicopter was dispatched shortly after the raid and police have been speaking to residents in the area as enquiries continue.

A spokesman for The Co-operative Food said: “The store will remain closed due to the damage caused, and at this stage it is too early to assess the full impact, but we are working hard to reopen as soon as possible.

“We would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused while the store is closed.

“As with any incident such as this, we would appeal for anyone with information to come forward.”

The raid comes just weeks after a similar incident at a Co-op on High Street in Blyth, in which a JCB was used to steal a cash machine.

The raid happened on December 9 and the offenders escaped with a safe in a Toyota Hilux.

n South Yorkshire Police have asked anyone who witnessed the incident, or witnessed vehicles driving at speed in the area before and after the incident, to contact them on 101 quoting incident number 65 of January 8. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.