A supermarket which was badly damaged in an attempted ram raid is set to reopen within days as police make a new appeal for witnesses.
Structural engineers are assessing the damage to the Tesco express store in Throston, Hartlepool, which has been closed since the raid in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Police say a 31-year-old man arrested in connection with the incident has been released on bail.
Police stress the inquiry is still at an early stage, and they still need more witnesses to come forward.
The raiders used a digger in an apparent attempt to steal the store’s cash machine.A witness said the yellow digger was driven ‘full pelt’ into the front of the store, after smashing its way through security bollards.
The raiders were disturbed by a police traffic patrol before fleeing in another vehicle.
A Land Rover linked to the raid was later found burned out in Worset Lane.
Detectives say a van was also involved in the getaway.
The damaged cash machine was left at the store in Wiltshire Way.
A spokesman for Tesco said the company is cooperating fully with the police inquiry.
The spokesman added: “The store was shut at the time of the incident, but it has still been a shock for those who work there.
“We have a support network in place for colleagues who may have been affected by what happened.
“It is hoped the store will reopen at the weekend, but that is dependent on the progress of the repair work.
“The cash machine will be reinstated.
“In the meantime, anyone needing to use our cash or other facilities can access them at our Extra store in Belle Vue Way.”
The police inquiry is being led by Detective Sergeant Neil Cawthorne of Cleveland Police.
He said: “I would appeal for any witnesses to this incident or anyone with information regarding those involved to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”