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Ram raiders target Hassocks bank with digger
7:33am Monday 6th August 2012 in News
Brazen robbers have attempted to steal a cash machine using a digger.
Residents reported that the digger was driven into the front of Barclays Bank, in Keymer Road, Hassocks, at about 3.15am today, dragging out the cash point, which was installed in the wall of the building, Sussex Police said.
The machine was loaded on to a blue Toyota pick-up truck but the drivers of both vehicles, who were wearing dark clothing, ran off towards Chancellors Park leaving the unopened cash machine on the truck, the spokesman said.
Keymer Road has now reopened to traffic with police managing a one-way system.
Residents living above the bank have been evacuated over fears that the building could collapse and surveyors are examing the property to see what damage has been sustained.
A police spokesman said the digger used in the ram raid was stolen from a quarry at Plumpton, near Lewes, East Sussex, earlier that day.
He said the pick-up truck driver was about 6ft, slim, and wearing a hooded top.
Detective Sergeant Steve Tattersall said: "The inquiry is at an early stage and it is not yet clear why the two men abandoned the vehicles and ran off without the cash machine.
"There have been no recent such offences in Sussex and at present we are not linking this with any offences elsewhere in the country.
"Anyone who saw what happened or who has any other information about the incident is asked to contact us. In particular the digger, being driven west during the early hours across from Plumpton which is further along the B2116, would surely have been noticed by anyone was up and about at the time."
Sarah Green, 40 from Bonny Wood, said: “My little seven-year-old boy woke me up this morning and said he heard a gunshot and some screaming.
“It must have been a really big bang because he heard it some distance away.
“I don’t understand how they thought they could get away with it.
“Probably because of the Olympics, they thought the police would be off somewhere else.”
Anyone who saw what happened or has any other information about the incident should call Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 0128 of August 6, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.