Thousands of pounds were taken from the Tesco Express store in Liverpool Road, Eccles in the tunnel heist
Gang dug beneath a Tesco in Greater Manchester in carefully-planned heist
Five-figure sum in cash stolen from the supermarket in night raid
Police suspect the gang may have told others about their detailed plans
The raid has been linked to the so-called ‘mole-in-the-wall’ gang
They are believed to have carried out three similar raids since 2007
Officers are appealing to anyone with information to come forward
Thieves dug a 50ft tunnel under a building to steal thousands of pounds from a cash machine.
Police believe the gang spent months digging the ‘complex’ structure from nearby wasteland to get at the cash at a Tesco store in Eccles, Greater Manchester last Friday, March 14.
The elaborate heist has been linked to the so-called ‘mole-in-the-wall’ gang, who are believed to have carried out three similar plots in the city since 2007.
Police think the gang spent months digging the 50ft tunnel before carrying out a raid on Tesco in Eccles, Greater Manchester
In the latest raid, thieves stole cash boxes containing a ‘substantial’ sum of money from the Tesco store in Liverpool Road before disappearing back through the tunnel with the cash, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.
A police spokesman confirmed that the amount taken was in the ‘tens of thousands of pounds’.
Officers said they believe the gang may have spent months digging the tunnel, because of the amount of planning that was involved and complex nature of the tunnel structure.
‘You may have seen people acting suspiciously on Friday night, possibly covered in soil.
‘I would ask anyone with any information about the robbery to call us as soon as possible.’
It is thought to be the fourth time in seven years the same ‘tunnel’ method has been used in an attempt to steal cash machines from across the Greater Manchester area.
In August 2007, thieves dug under a Blockbusters store at Fallowfield shopping precinct in Manchester in a bid to steal an ATM, only to be foiled when contractors stumbled upon their tunnel while laying electric cables.
As well as scaffolding and wooden poles to shore up that tunnel, and electric lighting to dig by, police found tools, shovels, a wheelbarrow and bags of soil and what appeared to be a ventilation system. It was later filled in with concrete to prevent re-use.
It is believed a similar system of supports and scaffolding used in previous raids (pictured) were used in the latest theft.
In January 2012, around £6,000 from the same ATM was stolen after thieves dug a 100ft tunnel.
Again, it emerged the gang had used shovels, a wheelbarrow and then scaffolding to shore the tunnel up before getting inside the building.
After security guards discovered that the cash machine was empty, police examined the building and found the tunnel dug from a railway embankment, under a car park and beneath the foundations of the shop.
That passageway was around 100ft in length and around 4ft tall and could have taken up to six months to dig. It had also been fitted with lighting and roof supports.
Just a month later, in February 2012, a gang dug down from behind a railway station platform in an attempt to snatch an ATM from a corner shop in Manchester’s Burnage district.
They were foiled after vibrations of their late night digging triggered the shop’s security alarm. It is not believed any arrests were made over the previous raids.
Police have refused to say whether they are linking the latest tunnel to other similar attempts in the past.
At the scene today, there was no police tape to mark the spot where the gang began their dig – only a sign to say that the cash machine was not in use. Staff at the shop refused to comment.
The wasteland where the tunnel was started is an overgrown former coach and lorry park, left empty for several years, according to locals, and surrounded by industrial units.
The six-foot entrance gate to the yard is locked – but there are several holes in the fence allowing access to the land next to the supermarket.
A workman at the nearby Worsley Cruise Club said no suspicious acitivity had been reported by any of the boat owners who use moorings there.
Anyone with information about the latest raid is asked to call police on 0161 856 5353 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Source:Mail Online News