Police investigating ram raids on East Sussex shops in failed bids to steal cash machines believe criminals used stolen four-wheel-drive vehicles and that the incidents may be linked.
At 12.53am on Thursday (10 October) a light-coloured 4x4, possibly a Toyota Hilux pick-up, was used to smash into Jempson's general store in Main Street, Northiam, before an unsuccessful attempt was made to rip out a cash dispenser, or automatic telling machine (ATM). The suspects fled empty handed.
Later the same morning at 2am a Land Rover Discovery was used in a failed bid to remove an ATM from Balcombe's hardware store in Hailsham Road, Heathfield.
The Discovery, stolen from the Uckfield area overnight on Tuesday/Wednesday (8/9 October), was subsequently found abandoned and on fire several miles away at Possingworth Manor, Blackboys.
The occupants are thought to have escaped in a second Land Rover Discovery. This vehicle was believed to have been stolen during a burglary in Balcombe, near Haywards Heath, earlier in the week.
False number plates were used on the vehicles. In both raids the suspects were men wearing dark clothing and hoods or masks.
Anyone with information about these incidents, or who may have relevant dash-cam or CCTV footage of suspicious vehicles or activity, is asked to contact Sussex Police online or to phone 101, quoting Operation Ebony.
Alternatively they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, phone 0800 555 111.