An onlooker who watched digger-driving ram-raiders take out a shop in Northampton says he saw two men shouting frantically at one another before fleeing the scene
The popular One-Stop shop in St Crispin's was dramatically reduced to rubble at around 3.30am on Sunday morning, as criminals used a JCB to remove a cash machine from the premises.
The raiders were unsuccessful, dumping the construction vehicle before fleeing the scene.
Police have now launched a manhunt in a bid to trace them.
One eyewitness, who did not wish to be named through fear of repercussions from the criminals, was woken at 3.30am by the crashing sound of a digger ripping into the premises.
He said: "I just heard these three loud crashes - at first I thought it was a big bin being emptied, but it was worse, it was a horrible noise.
"I jumped out of bed to have a look and I just saw it smashing the shop down.
"At first I jumped back.
"I watched it crash into the building again and again, before I saw two men."
The anonymous source carried on watching as the two raiders desperately tried to get into the shop's cash machine.
"They were running towards the cash point, shouting 'let's go, let's go'" he said.
"I thought this is unbelievable, it was like watching a movie.
"It's such a shame they did that to such a lovely shop - they didn't deserve that."
The ram-raid of the One Stop Shop comes just weeks after a JCB was used in a similar attempt to break into a village shop's cash machine in Great Glen, Leicestershire.
On that occasion the raiders tried to load the ATM onto the back of a flat bed truck, but it fell as they drove off.
A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police, said: "Police were called to a One Stop Shop in the early hours of Sunday morning following reports a large digger was being used to ram the store.
“The ATM was left at the shop by the offenders before they fled the scene.
"We are asking for residents living in the Kislingbury and Bugbrooke areas to be alert and report any suspicious activity as well as advising people to be vigilant of large diggers being driven around the county overnight.”