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MONEY TO BURN; Crooks set light to notes in cash machine attack.

Byline: LUCY WILSON

ROBBERS tried to cut their way into a cashpoint machine at a Coventry supermarket today - but ended up setting the money on fire.

They used specialist industrial cutting gear to try to get at the cash at a Sainsbury's superstore earlier today - but fled empty-handed after the bungled raid.

The drama happened at about midnight when they struck at a Coventry Building Society cash machine at the supermarket in Austin Drive, Courthouse Green.

Fire crews who were called out said the would-be robbers had used industrial oxyacetylene cutting equipment in an effort to get at the notes.

It is thought the raiders disabled nearby CCTV cameras and wrenched the front of the cashpoint machine away.

But as they used the cutting gear to try to burn their way into the cash vault they managed to set the whole machine on fire.

Crews from Radford Road and Canley were called to the scene to put out the blaze.

Station officer Danny Moynihan, from Radford Road, said: "They were very professional - they knocked out the CCTV, they put up an advertising screen so nobody could see them and they must have used a digger or something like that when they ripped away the front of the cash machine.

"But then they set fire to the money and I don't think they got away with any of it."

Detectives believe the raid happened shortly after midnight, but the burned out machine was not discovered for another two hours.

The Coventry Building Society machine is managed by the store.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's said: "The police are investigating, and we are working very closely with them."

Police from Stoney Stanton Road were today investigating the incident. Anyone who saw anything suspicious is asked to call 0845 113 5000.

CAPTION(S):

ATTACKED: The store and the cash machine targeted by the raiders
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 5, 2004
Words:310
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