Thieves use digger for Chigwell atm raid

Daring thieves used a stolen construction digger to wrench a cashpoint from the wall of a Chigwell petrol station.

The gang stole the digger from the pub next door to Shell, Manor Road, at 5.30am yesterday before driving it over a parked car and into the wall of the garage.

They then extracted the machine, containing a five-figure sum of money, and loaded it into a getaway van before driving off towards Ilford.

Investigating officer Sgt Rob Huddleston said: “These thieves have to be caught as they clearly showed no care for anyone who may have been sitting in the stationary vehicle.

“We’re relieved that nobody was inside otherwise we would be looking at a murder investigation rather than a theft.

“We would ask anyone who recognises the getaway driver from the description provided to contact us. This man will be somebody’s son or partner and may have thought it unusual for them to be away from home at that time of the morning.”

The driver of the getaway van is described as white, in his late 20s, of slim build, has scruffy short hair and was wearing a dark jacket over a white T-shirt.

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Police quickly carried out an unsuccessful search in the area while structural engineers visited the garage to assess the safety of the damaged building.

The Shell garage re-opened for business this morning.

The crushed car was a broken-down BMW which had been left on the station forecourt overnight.

Anyone with information should contact Loughton police on 101.