Aldi ram raid Chatteris Cambs Jan 29 - released by Cambs Poli

Cambridgeshire police released this photo of a ram raid on an Aldi store in Chatteris

A series of ram raids ­targeting supermarket cashpoints is part of a pattern of organised crime, police said this week.

On Monday, Aldi UK was hit for at least the ninth time since November, with thieves ramming a Land Rover into a branch in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, at around 3am.

That was only 10 days after raiders drove a 4x4 into an Aldi branch in Didcot, Oxfordshire, at about 2am on 23 March.

In both cases the raiders failed to remove the cashpoint and fled empty-handed - in Didcot after being disturbed by staff.

But several attempts have proved successful, with thieves typically tying the cashpoint to a 4x4 and driving out again, ripping it from its base.

One such incident in Shipley, West Yorkshire, saw raiders drag a cashpoint out of an Aldi branch at 11.29pm on 1 March. That followed an unsuccessful attempt on a West Yorkshire Aldi store, in Slaithwaite, on 1 January.

“It’s something being looked at from an organised crime perspective,” said a West Yorkshire Police spokesman. “We’re looking at [it] regionally. Not just about Aldi stores in particular but cashpoint raids.”

Waitrose has been hit at least seven times since November, with cases all reported separately in local news. Morrisons, Co-op Food and Tesco Express have also been targeted.

In a statement in December, not focusing on supermarkets, DCI Stuart Spencer of the Yorkshire & Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit said: “We have witnessed an emerging trend of ATM machines thefts from commercial premises where significant amounts of cash have been stolen.

“Since July 2017, there have been five offences in the Humberside area, four in North Yorkshire, five in South Yorkshire and 11 in West Yorkshire.”

Following an Aldi ram raid in November, Leicestershire Police revealed it was investigating 19 cash machine raids in the last 18 months, with targets including a post office and off licence.

The full scale of the problem is unclear according to the British Retail Consortium, with supermarket ram raid figures not collated nationally and supermarkets themselves reluctant to discuss it - neither Aldi nor Waitrose provided a comment. The Association of Convenience Stores surveyed its members on ATM ram raids for the first time in its 2018 Crime Report, estimating the cost at £8m.

Meanwhile the BRC’s latest annual crime survey found the cost of burglary to retailers had risen to over £13.5m in 2016-17 from around £8m in 2014-15. Retailers had seen a rise in gang-related robberies and burglaries which “can include ‘ram-raiding’ incidents,” said BRC crime and security adviser James Martin.

“Given the unprecedented structural change the retail industry is already going through, these pressures are becoming doubly difficult to resist,” he added. “That’s why, together with the possible impacts on retail employees, these reported trends are so concerning. It’s clear that a full picture of what is happening and why is required, which should be translated into proportionate action.”