RAM RAIDERS smashed their way into a shop in a stolen Land Rover – then drove off with a cash machine tied to the back and bouncing down the road.
The robbers wrenched up the security shutters before breaking into Golcar Stores on James Street at about 3.45am yesterday.
They attached the cash machine to the vehicle, stolen from nearby Handel Street that night, before dragging it along the road for about a mile.
It is thought several vehicles were damaged by the getaway car and the trailing ATM swinging from side to side as the robbers sped off along James Street and Low Westwood Lane before stopping in Linthwaite.
They abandoned the cash machine when the police tracked them down before setting off again as officers chased behind.
The thieves got to Slaithwaite, where they drove down the canal towpath.
When they could go no further they abandoned the 4x4 on Bridge Street and fled on foot.
Daljit Singh, 34, who runs Golcar Stores as well as three other convenience shops, said he was called by neighbours at about 3.50am yesterday.
“When we got there it was absolute carnage, a wreck,” he said. “There was glass all over the place and the whole shop front was totally destroyed.
“This is the first problem we have had.
“The irony is, we were thinking about getting rid of the cash machine because we were worried it was a security issue.”
He said he was thankful no-one was working at the time of the incident.
“You have to look at the brighter side of things – nobody was harmed,” he said.
Neighbours Mohammed and Maqsoodan Amin were woken up by the thieves breaking in at about 3.40am.
Mrs Amin said: “There was a loud noise and Mohammed said ‘it must be the wind.’
“I thought it couldn’t be. Then there was a lot of noise and you could hear shouting.”
They said a Nissan Micra that did not belong to any residents had been mysteriously parked in front of the shop until about 1.30am when Mr Amin shut Mario’s takeaway which is next door to the convenience shop.
Mrs Amin said: “There’s usually some cars parked in front of the shop all night, but that was there until the early morning and then it was moved.
“Maybe they put it there so no-one could park there and block the front.”
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “You could hear a large vehicle revving back and forth. I could hear a lot of noise, but there’s often rowdiness out here so I didn’t go out.”
Mr Singh said he hoped to be able to reopen the damaged shop before Christmas.
“We’ll be offering customers cash back for now,” he added.
Police are examining the Land Rover and the cash machine for clues.
Anyone with information should contact Det Con Julian Burgin at Huddersfield CID on 01484 436685 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.