Residents have rallied to support a business in Meon Vale after it was ram-raided by criminals earlier this month.
The Londis store on Wellington Avenue was targeted at around 3.20am on 20th August as a 4×4 type vehicle smashed through the front of the shop.
Once through the doors, the criminals attempted to remove the cash machine from inside the store by attaching a length of webbing cord around it.
Despite their efforts to drag the machine from its standings, the criminals were ultimately unsuccessful and fled the scene with nothing.
It is believed that in addition to the 4×4 the offenders also made use of another vehicle.
The attempt caused extensive damage to the front of the store and left tyre marks in the entrance way.
Jeet Bansi, who runs the business with his wife Pam, said: “It’s the damage and destruction that they have caused which has been devastating. They’ve destroyed the electric sliding glass door and I would say they’ve caused £25-£30,000 worth of damage.
“We’ve had so much support from local people, we’ve received a lot of cards and flowers, and the wider retail community have been great too.
“This has been a huge shock to us which we’re still getting over, but it’s also a shock to local residents, there’s a real disappointment that they have targeted our community. We feel part of the community and really proud of the area we serve, but we feel we have let people down by having to close on Saturday and Sunday morning for repairs and not being to get all our deliveries in.
“I would say we are 98% back to normal now. We are an independent family-run business, we’re not part of a massive chain so it’s particularly upsetting.
“I hope they find these people and I hope they are punished, they have not just damaged our business but the whole community.”
Jeet added that the business is planning to install bollards and metal shutters to the front of the store.
Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call police on 101 quoting the crime reference number 52 of 20th August.