Halstead ram-raid destroys front of Co-op

Image caption,
Raiders took out the front of the shop and then took out the cash machine

The front of a shop was destroyed by ram-raiders who drove through it before making off with a cash machine.

Up to eight men are thought to have been involved in the break-in at a Co-op in Colchester Road, Halstead at about 02:45 BST.

A Co-op spokesman said the building was "extensively damaged" and was unsure when it might reopen.

Essex Police said the cash machine has been found, but could not say whether the raiders got away with any cash.

Between five and eight men, wearing dark clothes, were seen near the shop close to the time of the raid, officers said.

Three vehicles believed to have been involved in the incident have also been recovered, however police are keen to speak to the driver of a Mitsubishi Shogun which was seen in the area in the early hours.

Image caption,
Raiders struck at the shop - a former pub - in the early hours of Tuesday morning
Image caption,
The damage was "extensive"

Members of Essex Fire and Rescue Service were called to make the building safe before forensic officers could examine it.

Det Insp Rob Kirby from Braintree CID, said the force was "keeping an open mind as to whether this is linked to other incidents which appear to have similarities".

Image caption,
A skip had to be brought in to remove the bricks

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