WITH PICS AND VIDEO: Witnesses in Holme Hall reported a huge explosion as thieves destroyed a cash machine late last night.
Derbyshire police are investigating after thieves stole cash and destroyed a cash machine at the Holme Hall Post Office and badly damaged the interior of the shop, following two separate explosions.
A trail of destruction was left with debris spread across the pedestrianised shopping centre on Wardgate Way as thieves are suspected of using the blunt force of an explosion to bust open the ATM, as well as appearing to force entry into the shop by blasting open the steel shutters.
The theft comes only a week after a similar ATM raid in the Chesterfield area, with a crew using a JCB construction vehicle to rip a cash machine from the wall of a Co-op petrol station in Duckmanton. The two thefts are not thought to be related.
Neighbours at the adjacent Hanbury Flats said the explosion caused a huge and worrying noise.
Natalie Evans, 24, said: “I heard it, and I felt it - I thought we were having an earthquake.
“We looked out of the window and saw a huge chunk of debris still on fire by Chico’s, so my mum called the police.”
The burning debris would have been blown across the whole pedestrianised area, about 75 feet, to land in front of the kebab house.
Natalie also said she saw people running out to find out what was going on, but did not see anyone flee the area, so the thieves may have fled around the back of the Co-op, where police have also cordoned off the area for forensic analysis.
Alan Smith, who saw the fire brigade show up, said: “I didn’t get to sleep until they were gone.”
Another neighbour said: “I didn’t hear a thing, I was dead to the world.”
Derbyshire police confirmed they were called to the post office on Wardgate Way, Holme Hall, after residents reported hearing a ‘loud bang’ at around 2.40am this morning.
The manager of Farm Foods, next door to the Post Office said he was waiting at the scene to establish if the explosion had ripped through the interior wall and caused any damage to the shop. He said: “It looks like there was two explosions, one on the ATM and another in the interior of the shop, so I’m waiting to get inside and see if there’s any internal damage.”
Residents have flocked to social media to spread news of the explosion, and MP Toby Perkins also took to Twitter to say: “Distressed to hear about ATM robbery in Holme Hall last night, anyone see/ hear anything?”
Derbyshire Constabulary confirmed reports of “two large bangs” heard by witnesses, but could not say if explosives were used.
A police spokesman said: “When officers attended they discovered that the ATM had been damaged and money had been stolen.
“The investigation is at an early stage and officers are appealing for anyone who was in the area at the time to contact them on 101.”
Anyone with information can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.