Police from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are investigating the theft of an ATM from outside a Murco forecourt in Whitstable.

The incident took place between 3am and 3.30am on Friday March 9 and detectives believe a white Ford Iveco Daily van was used and at least two people were involved. There may also have been a second vehicle travelling in convoy with the van.

The police have released a CCTV image of the van allegedly used in the theft.

Detective Inspector Kevin Downard from the Serious Crime Directorate said he thought the cash machine, which contained several thousands pounds, was probably dumped once it was emptied.

“It is more than likely that it will have been dumped in a rural location, so we are specifically asking dog walkers, riders and people in the countryside to keep a lookout for the machine.

He said he was keeping an open mind as to whether this incident was linked to a spate of ATM thefts and attempted thefts in Kent last November.

He added: “I would like to reassure people that these are generally infrequent crimes and the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate has a strong record in targeting and dismantling the organised criminal gangs behind this type of offending.”