Man in court after cash machine ram-raid

A man has appeared in court following a ram-raid in which a cash machine was wrenched from a shop in the early hours. According to eye-witnesses, balaclava-clad thieves drove a digger into the Family Shopper store in St Martins Hill, Canterbury.

The Family Shopper store in St Martin's Hill, Canterbury, suffered a ram raid The Family Shopper store in St Martin’s Hill, Canterbury, suffered a ram raid

James Collins, of Lenham Heath, Maidstone, has since been charged with burglary and dangerous driving in connection with the incident shortly after 2.30am on Friday. The 29-year-old appeared before Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Saturday and was remanded in custody to appear before Canterbury Crown Court on December 13.

A Kent Police spokesman said: “It was reported that a digger had been driven into the front of the building, causing a substantial amount of damage.

“Two vehicles, including a white Range Rover Evoque and a white pick-up truck, are said to have been outside the shop at the time of the incident and left the scene, travelling towards Littlebourne.”

The digger at the scene in St Martin's Hill, Canterbury The digger at the scene in St Martin’s Hill, CanterburyThere appears to have been a collision between a 4x4 and a police car There appears to have been a collision between a 4×4 and a police car

The cash machine was recovered on the A257 Littlebourne Road. A 4×4 appeared to have been in a collision with a police car and there were blood stains on the roof of a Skoda at the scene. Footage from the aftermath of the ram raid

An eyewitness, who did not want to be named, told KentOnline they were woken by a rumbling sound. “We came outside, went to the corner of the road, and noticed there was a big digger tracking down the road,” he said.

“Then we went back in, laid back down – then we just heard the bang. “We came back out and the digger was there taking it to work at the cash point.

“There were a couple of geezers wearing balaclavas and then they just skirted off.”

A fence linking to the nearby Taylor Wimpey Royal Parade development has been smashed down A fence linking to the nearby Taylor Wimpey Royal Parade development has been smashed downThe road was closed on Friday following the ram raid The road was closed on Friday following the ram raid

Shocked store owner Ashish Patel, 40, said the tenants who live above the shop alerted him at about 2.30am. He says the damage will cost GBP50,000 to repair and may take up to six weeks to complete. “We are hoping to stay open,” he said. “It depends on the staff.

If we feel something bad will happen, we will close it.” An investigation is ongoing and witnesses, or anyone with information or dashcam footage which may assist, are urged to call the appeal line. If you can help, call 01843 222289, quoting reference 46/230556/21, or call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or visit it’s website.

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