A criminal used welding equipment in an attempt to break into a forecourt cash machine and then fled when it caught fire yards from the pumps.

The attack happened overnight at the Jet-branded Chidswell Service Station on Leeds Road in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, on Wednesday July 26.

Chris Cundall, who owns the site, told the Huddersfield Daily Examiner the consequences “could have been catastrophic”.

He said: “It was about 1am and someone arrived with a welding machine. They tried to cut into the back of the cash machine and got halfway through doing it when a fire started and they ran off just leaving it.

“The fire was internal although there was lots of smoke. Luckily there were no flames exposed on the forecourt, which could have caused a huge explosion.”

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service dealt with the blaze, which is now being investigated by West Yorkshire Police.

A police spokesperson said: “Police were called by the fire service at about 2.25am this morning to a report of a fire at a freestanding cash point at a petrol station on Leeds Road, Dewsbury.

“It is believed the fire was started deliberately and a crime of arson has been recorded.

“Enquiries are ongoing today and anyone who saw suspicious behaviour at the garage at around the time of the fire or just before is asked to contact Kirklees Police on 101 referencing crime 13170342057.”