Caistor’s mayor has slammed a gang of masked thieves who ripped out a cash machine in an overnight raid on the town.
Mayor Carol MacKenzie has described the attack as ‘disgusting’ and says people will now feel ‘insecure’ walking around the town late in the evening.
It’s going to make people feel insecure.Carol Mackenzie
The incident happened in Market Place at 3.08am on Friday, April 8.
Police say a group of four masked offenders were seen dragging the NatWest ATM from the wall using a fork lift truck/teleporter and then loaded it into a white transit-type van.
Coun MacKenzie said: “It’s disgusting. They’ve taken one of the few banking services away from the people of Caistor.
“It’s a very bad thing for the town.
“It’s terrible. I’ve always felt perfectly safe walking through Caistor, even late at night.
“Now I think it’s going to make people feel insecure, especially elderly people, of which there are a lot in Caistor.
“I just hope the police jump into action and put measures in place to catch them.”
And Coun MacKenzie raised concerns over whether NatWest would replace the cash machine - after closing its branch last August.
She said: “I’m worried now this will make the bank think they’ll get rid of the machine altogether. That’s the worry.
“I go to the Post Office (to get cash) but because of a lack of bank the post office is getting busier and busier.
“If the machine is reinstated, we’ve got to look at a way somehow of protecting it in the future.”
Police said at the time the NatWest building appeared to have sustained some structural damage that will need to be assessed before officers couldsafely examine the scene in detail.
Witnesses say the thieves drove the van in the direction of Brigg, leaving the fork lift truck at the scene.
Part of the roof of the van had been cut away to allow the ATM to be dropped into it by the fork lift truck.
A van fitting witness descriptions was discovered on fire at a farm on Caistor Road, North Kelsey Moor, sometime after 7am later that morning.
And police say it is likely another vehicle was used in the offence and would have been close by. Caistor town councillor Alan Caine said: “It’s very sad but it’s not the end of the world - we have other outlets for cash (Post Office, Co-op and Spar shop).
“I think what most people are concerned about is whether we’ll get another cash machine there, whether NatWest will actually replace it.
“It’s not a total despair situation.”
A NatWest spokesman said the bank had not yet reached a decision over whether it will replace the cash machine.
He said this would take several weeks and that transaction numbers would have to be analysed.
Police are appealing for information about any other vehicles that may have been involved. They would also like to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident or has seen any suspicious activity in the vicinity of the bank over recent days. Call 101 and quote incident 28 of April 8.