Raiders tried to steal a cash machine from a garage then fled the scene empty handed after the ATM was too heavy to lift
The would-be thieves smashed into the village garage in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, then dragged the ATM on to the forecourt.
But they struggled to get the heavy machine into the back of their stolen blue Land Rover and sped off in another vehicle.
The raiders were believed to have been disturbed during the Sunday morning incident and left the scene of the crime empty handed.
Garage manager Angela Cofre was shocked to arrive for work later in the morning to find herself standing in the middle of a crime scene.
She said: “I had no idea what had happened.
“I presume they broke the door and tried to yank it out.
“We have CCTV and I think we are working with police on that.”
The Land Rover was taken from the forecourt of a garage in nearby Dinnet between 5pm and 1:30am on Saturday night.
It is the second time this year that a blue Defender was stolen from the car showroom, which is based in a village four miles away, this yearThe gang of thieves targeted the petrol station in Aboyne in Royal Deeside at about 1.45am on Sunday.
Village residents Les Davidson and his partner Liz Hannaford were shocked to find the crime had happened near their home.
Les said: “I was up watching the television when I heard an almighty bang outside.
“I went to the window to see what was happening and saw about three or four guys struggling to get an ATM machine into the back of a Land Rover which was reversed and parked beside the door.
“As soon as I saw them I went through to the bedroom to wake up Liz and phone the police.”
It is the 13th time in two years that raiders have targeted ATMs across the north-east over the past two years.
Detective Inspector Norman Stevenson said a team of officers were investigating an attempted theft which happened in a low crime rate area.
He said: “We’re still making enquiries in the Aboyne area and round about. They have left this vehicle behind for us which actually gives us some good clues as to where they have come from prior to this happening.
“It gives us another vehicle to look for, where it has originated from and what routes they might have taken.
“We’re expecting more vehicles to be involved.”