Loud crash woke people in Lakenheath as digger used to steal ATM from Lloyds’ High Street branch

PUBLISHED: 10:02 23 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:04 23 June 2017

Extensive damage was caused to the wall of the bank. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI.

Extensive damage was caused to the wall of the bank. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI.

Mariam Ghaemi

Eyewitnesses have spoken of the terrifying moment they were woken by a crash as thieves rammed a digger into the wall of a Lakenheath bank.

The scene of the ram-raid at Lloyds Bank in Lakenheath High Street. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI. The scene of the ram-raid at Lloyds Bank in Lakenheath High Street. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI.

Police are still on the scene and a section of the High Street has been closed after the yellow JCB was used to steal the ATM machine from the branch of Lloyds at about 3.50am.

Extensive damage has been caused to the front of the building - which is in a conservation area - and a spokeswoman for Lloyds said the branch would be closed until further notice in the interests of safety while they await the results of a structural survey.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said at least three people wearing dark clothing were seen in the area and it is thought they fled the scene in two vehicles – possibly a white car and a red pick-up style vehicle.

A 53-year-old man, who lives opposite the bank, described how he was woken by the crash in the early hours, but felt too frightened to look out of the window.

Jay Ali, manager of Little India restaurant, which was also damaged in the raid. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI. Jay Ali, manager of Little India restaurant, which was also damaged in the raid. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI.

“I just didn’t want to come out there,” he said. “The wall came down. The crash woke me up. And there was a lot of shouting. I didn’t look out of the window until they had gone.”

He believed his neighbour had called the police.

As well as damage to the bank, the Indian restaurant opposite, Little India, suffered a smashed window and damage to its wall.

Manager Jay Ali said he was “devastated”, adding the culprits must have reversed into his business so they could push forwards to target the bank.

Police forensics have been at the scene of the ram-raid at Lloyds Bank in Lakenheath High Street. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI. Police forensics have been at the scene of the ram-raid at Lloyds Bank in Lakenheath High Street. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI.

“Unfortunately we had to be right opposite,” he said. “The only thing I can think of is they reversed back to allow space to go forwards.”

He has boarded up the restaurant window and is hoping to still open to trade.

A passerby said: “I don’t think we have had anything like that before - for something to have been ripped out of the wall.”

It is believed the JCB may have been stolen from a nearby building site.

The Lloyds Bank spokeswoman said: “The branch was empty at the time and nobody was hurt. Suffolk Police have been informed and are investigating the incident.”

Suffolk police are appealing for information about the ram-raid.

The spokeswoman said officers were alerted at about 3.50am this morning, Friday, June 23, to reports the ATM had been smashed out of the wall of the bank. A JCB was used to get the machine and this was left in the middle of the road.

She added: “Police took a further call around 4am from a member of the public who reported the pick-up appeared to be pulling the ATM. A search of the area was carried out and work is under way to trace those involved in the incident.

“The road is currently closed while a full investigation gets under way at the scene. A large part of the wall of the bank has been ripped out.”

Anyone who saw any vehicles or any suspicious activity in the area around this time this morning if asked to call west Suffolk CID by dialling Suffolk Police on 101, quoting CAD 40 of today, Friday, June 23.

4 comments

  • OVM: Sadly you're right. Judging by today's front page, most awards go to pseudo social workers. Not their original perception of the police force (sorry service) perhaps.

    Report this comment

    dinosaur detective

    Friday, June 23, 2017

  • DD. Not like a full night shift of a Sgt and plenty of Pc's in our days . Long gone.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Friday, June 23, 2017

  • Considering that the big yellow digger was stolen only 100 yards from the bank, no I do not expect the police to have seen it being driven along the road. It would have been there for only a few minutes.

    Report this comment

    Adyj-813

    Friday, June 23, 2017

  • Is there really no police in the wider location to see a big yellow digger being driven at 3am in the morning?

    Report this comment

    dinosaur detective

    Friday, June 23, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

More news stories

Insolvency specialists Grant Thornton has posted an update on their attempts to unravel the affairs of an Ely company that went bust a year ago with multi million pound debts and nearly 300 creditors.

07:37

The East Cambridgeshire Gold Torc is set to make a television appearance as part of BBC’s Civilisations Series next week.

16:37

After showing his work to nearly 2,000 visitors at the Babylon Gallery, Ely artist Ted Coney is re-opening his pop-up gallery for it’s 10th season.

11:30

The Final of the East Cambs Carpet Bowls Association League Knock-Out Cup, 2017/18 Season, was held at Ross Peers Sports Centre, Soham, on Wednesday April 18.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter