“It was like something you would see at the cinema” delivery driver relives horror after witnessing Taverham ram raid

Ram raid at Tesco store in Taverham.
Photo: Bill Smith Ram raid at Tesco store in Taverham. Photo: Bill Smith

Wednesday, September 5, 2012
6:30 AM

A man has spoken of his shock after he witnessed a ram raid in Taverham while driving to work – and had rocks hurled at him when he stopped to investigate.

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Thieves used a JCB to try and remove the ATM machine from the wall of the Tesco Express store on Fakenham Road, Taverham, at about 1.15am yesterday morning. It was the latest in a spate of raids – which police are linking – where diggers or other machines have been used to steal cash machines.

Paul Brandish, 53, left, was driving to work when he saw thieves using a JCB to remove the cash machine from the wall.

Mr Brandish, who works as a delivery driver for the Norwich Evening News, said: “I was on my way to work because my shift starts at 1.30am. I was driving through Taverham and I could hear a loud noise and saw a JCB outside the Tesco store. It had all of its lights on and the shop alarm was going off.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was like watching something you would see at the cinema.”

The father-of-eight from Bawdeswell drove to Taverham police station and knocked on the door but when nobody answered, he turned his car around and drove back to Tesco where he was confronted by four men dressed in black who were wearing grey masks.

“Someone started hurling rocks at me. One went straight over my car but another one hit the driver’s side wing. I wasn’t hurt at all but the car is damaged. I had only had the car for four days - it was in immaculate condition and its going to cost me around £590 to repair.”

The thieves drove off along the A1067 out of Norwich towards Attlebridge in a dark small hatchback car and a 4x4.

“I got the registration of the digger and the 4x4 they were driving. I wanted to get as much information as possible to give to the police. I wasn’t prepared to let them get away with it. The police have praised me for what I have done.” Mr Brandish added.

Detective Sergeant Andy Garner said: “I would like to thank all those people who have come forward to help with our inquiries in Taverham.

“We are particularly looking to trace a woman who spoke to officers a short time after the attempted theft occurred. She spoke with a South African accent and was wearing a dressing gown. Her details were not obtained and she may have information which could assist our investigation.”

Detective Inspector Richard Graveling said: “We are linking yesterday’s incident at Taverham with other raids both in Norfolk and across the region, and are working with other forces as part of our inquiries. This type of crime affects both businesses and members of public, and we are treating it as a priority.”

People living near to the Tesco store have spoken of their shock about the similarities of yesterday’s raid to the incident in June last year where a digger was also used to rip out a cash machine.

In May a JCB digger was used to rip a cash machine out of the wall of HSBC’s Reepham town square branch while in April there were similar scenes of carnage in Brundall when a 4x4 vehicle smashed through the front of Budgens to get its cash machine.

A digger was also used during a raid at the Co-op in Long Stratton in February where thieves attempted to steal the ATM. There have also been similar raids in Needham Market and Hadleigh in Suffolk as well as Cambridgeshire.

Anyone who witnessed yesterday’s raid or has information regarding the attempted theft should contact DC Jane Woods at Norwich CID on 101. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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