Thursday, 20 September 2018

Gas cannisters used to blow cash machine from wall

RAIDERS detonated gas canisters to blow a cash machine out of a wall and then escaped with the money inside it.

RAIDERS detonated gas canisters to blow a cash machine out of a wall and then escaped with the money inside it.

Three men were involved in the raid at the former NatWest bank in Peppard Road, Sonning Common, in the early hours of Saturday.

Police said a large sum of cash was taken.

The force of the blast shattered windows in the building. Denise Tegg, a newsagent who lives in Peppard Road, was woken up by the noise.

â??I have never heard anything like it in all my life,â?� she said. â??It sounded like a bomb going off and thatâ??s an understatement.

â??I had a look through the windows of the bank on Saturday afternoon and it looked like the blast had blown the doors off behind the cash machine.â?� Mrs Tegg, 59, said she had seen debris as far as the Village Barbers, about 20m away.

She said the machine was filled with money on Friday, which she believes the raiders may have seen happening.

Police were called at 4.15am but the raiders had already escaped. They were seen in a dark-coloured vehicle, believed to be an Audi, being driven along Sedgewell Road towards Reades Lane. 

Det Sgt Matthew Jarman said: â??I would appeal to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the vicinity of Peppard Road in the early hours of Saturday morning to contact me.

â??Did you see a group of men in the area, or a dark coloured vehicle parked in Peppard Road or travelling at speed in Sedgewell Road towards Reades Lane?â?�

A NatWest spokeswoman said: â??We are working closely with the police over the incident involving the ATM at our Sonning Common branch.â?�

The bank was closed in August despite a campaign by residents to save it. NatWest agreed to retain the cash machine but it was offline for six weeks.

In January, the bank and the parish council agreed that the device should be moved to the village hall in Wood Lane. At the time, parish councillor Leigh Rawlins raised concerns about damage to the hall if the machine was targeted by robbers.

Douglas Kedge, who chairs the council, said: â??The current location is very visible and so is an obvious point of attack in the village.

â??The new location at the village hall is far less visible.

â??On the other hand there is the chance of another explosion and what that could do to the village hall. We will need to talk with NatWest and our insurers.â?�

Anyone with information about the raid should call Thames Valley Police on 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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