Police are appealing for passing motorists to come forward if they saw anything suspicious at the time an ATM was targeted in Kirkby Stephen.

Heavier than usual traffic is expected to have been passing through the town at the time of the theft, with sections of the A66 undergoing closures at certain points.

Police are continuing their investigations into the theft of cash from the ATM, during which an explosion was caused to allow the thieves to get at the machine.

The theft – carried out by a group of men in a white van - happened in the early hours of Saturday (September 15) at the Co-op shop in North Road.

They caused the explosion before forcing their way into the store and stealing some of the contents of the damaged machine.

Detective Sergeant Matthew Belshaw said: “We believe there will have been lots of traffic passing through Kirkby Stephen at the time of this theft that would not normally do so because of the closure.

“We would ask anybody who believes they may have seen anything unusual to contact us.

“People who have a dash cam fitted and may have been recording at the time they passed through could also help us. We would appeal to anyone in this position to check their footage.

“The theft involved a white van. You may even have witnessed the explosion without really grasping what it was at the time.

“Even the smallest piece of information could be crucial.”

Nobody was hurt but some of the stolen money will have been damaged by the explosion.

Shopkeepers and business staff are being asked to look out for money that is scorched or damage – and to contact police if they spot any.

People are also being urged not to approach if they have any suspicion that an ATM is being tampered with in this way, to keep their distance and dial 999.

The thieves used a dangerous technique that involved pumping gas into the front of the ATM before igniting it and causing an explosion.

Work is underway, including forensic investigations and work with other forces.

Officers have asked the public to contact them if they see anyone acting suspiciously near a bank or ATM as any information could be vital.

Similar offences across the country have involved the offenders hiding their gas canisters nearby in preparation, before disposing of them nearby afterwards.

Police are urging anyone with any information to contact officers on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.