Brazen thieves used a stolen farm loader belonging to a Farmers Weekly machinery reporter to try to tear a cash machine from a supermarket wall.
Kent Police is investigating after the attempted theft at a Tesco store in Meopham during the early hours of Saturday (18 June).
MEOPHAM: Thieves tried to steal an ATM from Tesco at The Parade using farm machinery around 3:45am this morning. pic.twitter.com/O5ynHYqP4p
— Kent 999s (@Kent_999s) June 18, 2016
The Claas Scorpion 6030cp was stolen from a farm in Harvel, Kent, at around 3am the same morning.
Stunned Farmers Weekly machinery reporter Jos Jones was jolted from his sleep and asked to go and retrieve his stolen telehandler.
The telehandler has a top speed of 18mph (30km), so it would have been a strange choice of vehicle to use in any getaway Jos Jones, stolen telehandler owner
Mr Jones said: “My mum was alerted at 5am by the police, saying they were outside the farm and they needed to speak to her.
“Someone had broken into the yard and right under our noses taken our telehandler while we were asleep.
“I cannot believe we slept through it all as the machine has got a really loud reversing beeper, which was still connected.”
Mr Jones threw on some clothes and was driven to the Tesco store by his dad.
On arrival, he found that the thieves had smashed over a concrete bollard to get better access to the cashpoint. However, despite their best efforts to rip the ATM from the wall, it remained intact.
The telehandler suffered a smashed window, but otherwise had not been damaged. Paperwork was strewn all over the cab and the thieves had managed to locate the key which had been hidden away in a cubby hole in the cab.
A police escort helped Mr Jones drive the machine back to the farm, which was located 2.5m away.
“The telehandler has a top speed of 18mph (30km), so it would have been a strange choice of vehicle to use in any getaway,” he said.
“The Tesco store is on a really busy road with houses nearby, so perhaps the offenders were disturbed.”
Later that morning, police found evidence the offenders may have panicked during the ram raid and had escaped across a wheat field, destroying part of the crop.
Appealing for witnesses, a Kent Police spokesman said: “At 3.45am we received a report that a piece of farming machinery had been used in an attempt to remove an ATM from the wall of a premises in The Parade.
“The cash machine was not taken and no significant structural damage has been caused to the building.”
Police enquiries are ongoing and no suspects have been identified so far. The Tesco store affected is trading as normal.
Anyone with information, or who may have been travelling down the A227 Wrotham Road at a similar time, is asked to call 01474 366149 quoting 18-0215.
Alternatively contact Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.