Masked raiders drag cash machine out of shop

The Premier Express store on St John's Road. Picture: Greg Macvean

The Premier Express store on St John's Road. Picture: Greg Macvean

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MASKED raiders smashed their way into a newsagents and towed away a cash machine containing £1000.

The daring raid at M Gees Premier Stores, in St John’s Road, Corstorphine, took just one minute and 45 seconds before the suspects fled the scene in a car – with the ATM attached by a rope.

The raid took place early on Monday

The raid took place early on Monday

Owner Muhammad Hameed was woken in the early hours of Sunday morning by his alarm company, who told him there had been a break-in at his store at around 2.50am.

The 40-year-old arrived to find police had cordoned off the scene where masked men had broken through three different locks – including one securing the window bars – and smashed the glass panes in the door to get inside.

CCTV footage showed the gang towing the cash machine out of the door, before it crashed on to the pavement and was pulled away by a blue hatchback.

“I rushed to the shop but there is nothing you can do,” said Mr Hameed. “When I arrived the door was wide open and the machine had obviously been dragged along out of the door.

“When we looked at the CCTV footage we saw the three people come in. They took nothing but the cash machine.

“They tied some sort of rope around the cash machine and dragged it out with the help of the car.”

The shop has been targeted by thieves four times in the last five years, including a terrifying incident when Mr Hameed was stabbed fending off robbers.

The Corstorphine resident said: “It seems to happen once a year. Police always say they are trying to do something but no-one is ever caught.

“We are all quite depressed because the crime seems to repeatedly happen. Should I just shut my business as there is no other way?”

The family-run business was forced to close for most of Sunday while forensic tests were carried out and staff had to remain in the shop to make sure the stock was secure as they were unable to close the broken door.

The family-run business now faces a bill of more than £1000 to repair the door frame, glass panels and locks.

Police have launched a manhunt for three men, who were described as dressed in dark clothing with their faces covered. They were last seen heading along Station Road away from St John’s Road.

Inspector Annicea Madine said: “We want to speak to anyone who heard or saw anything suspicious in the area around this time. Those with information are asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”