Thieves dig 100ft tunnel to steal cash in Manchester

Thieves dug the 100ft tunnel directly under the cash machine, using machinery to cut through concrete

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Thieves in Manchester dug a 100ft (30m) underground tunnel to get to a cash machine.

The theft happened overnight on Monday 2 January at Blockbuster in Fallowfield Shopping Precinct.

A similar plot was foiled in the same area in 2007, and police believe it may have been carried out by the same gang.

Thieves dug the tunnel directly under the cash machine and used machinery to cut through more than 15in (38cm) of concrete to steal the money.

Det Sgt Ian Shore from Longsight CID said: "In all my years of service, I've never seen anything as elaborate."

The passageway was about 4ft (1.2m) tall The passageway was about 4ft (1.2m) tall

However, the thieves only escaped with about £6,000 - because the machine had not been re-filled after the New Year bank holiday.

The tunnel started from a railway embankment at the rear of the shop, and went under a car park and beneath the foundations of the store.

The passageway was about 4ft (1.2m) tall and had been fitted with lighting and roof supports.

Police said the offenders also made their getaway back down the tunnel.

Officers believe the people responsible could have spent up to six months digging the passageway.

Det Sgt Shore said: "These people had obviously spent a long time plotting this crime and I doubt they would have been able to keep their plans secret for all that time, without telling others about their scheme.

"They must also have spent a lot of time in the area over the past few months, which people may have noticed."

In 2007, police sealed off the area near a Blockbuster store in Fallowfield Shopping Precinct after workmen uncovered a 40ft (12m) tunnel that seemed to be leading to it.

That tunnel had also been dug from a railway embankment but had been uncovered short of its target. It was filled with concrete after its discovery.

Police said it was not the same tunnel that had been used this time.

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