UPDATE: Witness account of Duckmanton ‘smash and grab’
He described how a team of at least three burglars with three vehicles used a piece of heavy machinery to carry out their theft of a cash machine from the Central England Co-operative petrol station on Chesterfield Road in the early hours of this morning.
In a well-orchestrated plan, the crew cut out the top of a van and used a JCB telehandler to quickly drop the cash machine in their getaway vehicle and speed off on the M1, a witness has told the Derbyshire Times.
Neighbour of the petrol station, Andrew, said he saw the whole raid.
He added: “I got awoken last night at about quarter to four with a digger and a crashing noise. I knew instantly what was going off. It was quite noisy because even though it’s a busy road it’s quiet at night.
“I jumped out of bed, grabbed my phone and ran up to the top floor and rang the police.
“There were three perpetrators hanging around, all with hoodies on, all male. I saw somebody driving that digger attempting to lift the cash machine out. There was a white Vauxhall Vivaro van and they had cut the roof out so they could drop it in the top.”
The crew also used a high-powered Audi car as a lookout along the road, said Andrew.
He added: “He was driving up and down.
“They reversed the van back, he took two of the guys who dropped the cash machine inside and then they drove off towards Bolsover.”
It is believed the thieves acquired the JCB telehandler from a nearby construction site at Markham Vale, where developers Henry Boot are extending the industrial park and building a new distribution centre.
Andrew added: “There’s just a skeleton at the minute but loads of machinery around there. They must have known there was some construction going on so they nicked the digger.
“They’re not very fast and they’re quite noisy, but they wouldn’t have needed to move it more than 200 yards.”
Officers at the scene were unable to comment but there was a police car present at the construction site and forensics officers said they were awaiting the crime scene to be made safe before starting analysis.
A source said they were hindered by the dangerous environment of the caved-in ceiling and hanging electricity cables.
He added: “We can’t do anything until the structural engineer and electrician get here.”
Trev Stanley, 62, a gardener who was working along Chesterfield Road, said: “They’ve done a good job of that wall, it’s a right mess.
“We’ve never had anything like this happen around here before to my knowledge.”