Thieves leave hole in the wall after using stolen tractor to rip out cash machine from listed building

Attackers badly damage listed building and upmarket business

Jane Dalton
Sunday 19 August 2018 13:36
A chunk of the lower part of the building that housed a kitchens business was gouged out
A chunk of the lower part of the building that housed a kitchens business was gouged out

A woman had a lucky escape when thieves used a stolen tractor to pull a cash machine out of a wall below her flat, leaving a gaping hole in the building.

Nearby residents were woken just after 4am as the gang targeted the cash machine on a corner in the quiet historic town of Beaminster, Dorset.

The occupant of the flat above escaped unhurt as the attackers gouged out part of the listed building that housed a bespoke kitchens and furniture business.

Police cordoned off the area with the stolen tractor still at the scene

Police said they caused significant structural damage.

The thieves were seen making off on foot before getting into a dark-coloured Audi car to make their getaway.

Officers said it was not yet known whether any money was stolen.

​Steff Chapman, of the family business whose building was attacked, explained on Twitter how upsetting it was.

“To say we are devastated does not cover it. The beautiful building, the lady asleep above (thankfully physically unhurt) our business and livelihood and all those in Beaminster affected. No words.”

She told The Independent: “We don’t know the extent of the damage yet. But it will obviously affect our livelihood.”

The gang used a stolen green tractor in the attack on the building, which was previously an HSBC bank.

The tractor was left at the scene alongside a green Land Rover Defender, which had earlier been stolen from Whitcombe Road in Beaminster.

The road was closed until a structural engineer could advise on how to make the property safe.

Police appealed for witnesses to get in touch.

Detective Sgt Simon Austin, of Weymouth CID, said: "I would urge anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the early hours of this morning in Beaminster and has yet to speak to officers to please contact Dorset Police.

"I am also keen to hear from anyone who saw an Audi or similar-looking car being driven in or around the area this morning or one that may have been abandoned.

"The offenders have caused significant structural damage to the property and the road has been closed to ensure the safety of members of the public until it can be made safe.”