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Torphins getaway vehicle recovered 40 miles away in Forfar after foiled forklift ATM heist

Police investigating a foiled north-east heist have recovered a stolen getaway vehicle used by the would-be robbers.

The car was found in a street in Forfar, more than 40 miles away from the scene of the crime in Torphins.

The criminals, who one witnessed described as speaking with a “Lancashire accent”, left a trail of wreckage in their wake after ripping an ATM from a Scotmid shop in the village using a stolen forklift.

The thieves remain at large and are believed to be part of a larger gang.

A blue Mini One had been taken from the Torphins area by the brazen trio who staged the smash and grab raid on the former church building at about 1.30am on Thursday.

The incident was filmed by one adjacent Craigour Road resident, with his footage showing three men being confronted by a lone female – armed with nothing but a mobile phone.

Police later praised the bravery she demonstrated by confronting the crooks.

The three men were yesterday described by another neighbour as having “broad Lancashire” accents after he overheard them conversing throughout the raid.

The robbers fled after being approached by the woman and they later changed vehicles and dumped the unopened ATM.

The images captured by the female have since been passed to officers investigating the crime, but they are believed to be of a poor quality.

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No description of the three men has been released, though police are appealing for information.

The shop remained closed until Thursday evening and yesterday temporary repairs to the front continued to be carried out.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said she was still “in shock” that “anything like this could have happened here”.

She added: “I do hope that they replace the cash machine though, because it was so handy – the nearest one now is either Banchory or Lumphanan.

“It will be a real nuisance for all the old folk.”

Last night detective inspector Fionnuala McPhail thanked everyone who had provided information so far.

She said: “The help and support has been invaluable.

“Our inquiries continue and I would once again appeal to anyone who has information about the movements of the vehicles we believe to have been involved to let us know as soon as possible.

“In addition to the Mini this includes a dark Ford Galaxy, a gold Chrysler Voyager and a red Manitou telehandler which was stolen from a nearby farm prior to the break-in taking place.

“The Mini recovered has obviously been taken from out with the local area in the direction of Forfar, which means I must extend my appeal to members of the public in other parts of Scotland.”

Anyone with information should contact the force on 101.

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