Cotswolds 'damaged police cars and cash machine theft linked'
Damage to eight police cars "minutes before" officers could respond to reports of a cash machine theft are linked, police have said.
Reports of thieves smashing a cash machine at the Eurogarage Service Station in Stow Road, Moreton-in-Marsh, were received at about 03:30 GMT.
When officers from Stow-on-the-Wold police station went to respond, eight cars were found to have slashed tyres.
"These two incidents do appear to be linked," Gloucestershire Police said.
The force added it appeared the crimes were "committed by a professional group".
'Stolen cherry picker'
When officers attempted to respond to the theft they found one tyre on each of eight police cars, parked at the rear of the station, had been slashed, disabling them all.
Det Supt Steve Bean said: "We have a team working on a number of cross-border offences at the moment and [they] were on patrol in the area, which meant they could respond very quickly and only just missed the offenders.
"Fortunately the damage to the eight cars did not affect our ability to respond to other incidents, and they are all now repaired."
He added the offenders used a stolen cherry picker, which has since been recovered, and had taken part of the cash machine and four cash cassettes.