A COMMUNITY has been left shocked after a ‘crazy’ overnight incident in which burglars ram-raided a Whitchurch shop and tried to steal an ATM from within.

Residents have spoke out after the Co-op store, in Bell Street, was targeted by a gang of thieves just before 1.30am this morning (Monday).

A silver hatchback was seen on CCTV reversing through the shop entrance, before a van pulled up and attempted to rip the ATM from the shop with the use of a heavy duty tow chain.

The culprits, however, were unsuccessful and the van they were driving – which police believe to be stolen – was later found burnt out in Overton.

Luke, an employee at the store, recalls the incident and the sight of the van lurching backward and forward as the driver tried to yank the ATM out of place.

“They wrapped a heavy duty chain around it, and they were [driving] full throttle trying to get it out,” he said.

“It didn’t really work. The van was actually doing it that powerfully it was lifting up and moving to the right.”

“They were smacking the pole here, it’s just crazy.”

Luke says the shop has never had anything like this happen before, and describes the scene last night as a "nightmare" with residents gathering, police cars attending and the considerable damage caused to the store.

Daisy Harris-Reid was one of those present and the first to call the police, who she has praised for their response.

“It was between one and half one that we called the police,” she said.

“They didn’t know anything about it, so I think we were the first ones to call. And they came pretty quickly to be honest.

“One of them sped off quite quickly, I think they chased them and I think they actually found [the van], which was great. It was a stolen van, I’ve been told.”

Police have since confirmed that a van was stolen on the same evening in an incident they believe is linked to the attempted robbery.

Thirty-year-old mum Daisy recalls the incident at the Co-op and says she has never witnessed anything as ‘horrendous’ as that in the town before.

However, she is buoyed by the response from the community who were keen to support in any way they could and try to help the situation.

“It’s amazing,” she said, “there are so many lovely people in this town it’s just such a wonderful place to live, and everyone’s got such great community spirit.

“There was loads of us out here that live centrally, and we were all getting together, someone had filmed the whole thing, someone had rung the police as well as us.

“Everyone was just so great getting together and supporting one another.”

Police have since shed further details on the incident.

A statement issued to the Gazette read: "We can confirm there was an attempt to steal the ATM from the Co-op store in Whitchurch in the early hours of Monday morning (March 30).

"Around 1.25am, suspects were seen to reverse a silver or grey hatchback style car into the shop front in Bell Street, before using a white transit van to try and drag the ATM out. They were unsuccessful and left the scene empty handed.

"The transit van was found to have been stolen from an address in Whitchurch. It was later found burnt out in London Road, Overton.

"If anyone has any information about this crime and hasn't already spoken to police, please get in touch by calling 101 and quoting reference 44200114493.

"Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."