Ram raid has 'ripped the heart out of Billingshurst'

Fire and rescue workers remove the light from a lamppost next to Sainsbury's while clearing the area.
Fire and rescue workers remove the light from a lamppost next to Sainsbury's while clearing the area.

Residents have reacted with shock, frustration and anger to the destruction at Sainsbury's this morning after a ram raid.

At the scene, emergency services are still working to clear the debris surrounding the front of the shop, which was torn apart by a JCB overnight to steal its ATM.

Debris under the front entrance of Sainsbury's in Billingshurst after the ram raid. Photo: Anna Khoo

Debris under the front entrance of Sainsbury's in Billingshurst after the ram raid. Photo: Anna Khoo

Fire and rescue workers have removed a light at the top of a nearby lamp-post and removed some of the wood scattered on the pavement from the overhead canopy, which has collapsed over the front entrance.

READ MORE: Latest from the scene as investigations continue

Danika Discombe, who has lived in the village for nearly ten years, said she never expected an incident of this scale in Billingshurst.

"I've seen break-ins," she said, "But it's just windows smashed and something like that, nothing like this."

READ MORE: Mum describes hearing ram-raid during night shift

But in light of a spate of similar ram-raids in the area, for some it came as no surprise.

Ken Bedwell, 85, said: "They fill [the ATM] up on Thursdays so we take cash out on Fridays.

"It was only a few days ago I said to my wife, without a doubt this will be the next one, and it happened."

For some people this morning, the immediate issue was negotiating the initial road closure, asking police officers for help crossing the cordon to take children to school or get to work.

Many stopped to look at the damage and lamented the loss of a much-needed shop and ATM.

Resident Laila Novell, 17, said: “The amount of times people keep complaining that we have no banks round here and we’ve only got a cash point, it’s just pointless.

“And Sainsbury’s is going to be closed for ages too.”

Sarah Wallace said she hoped Sainsbury's could open using the entrance at the back of the shop towards the library.

"It's ripped the heart of the village," she said.