Police tape surrounds a Waitrose store in Upminster after a cash machine was stolen.

Essex Police's Force Control Room tweeted that the ATM theft came after a van was stolen in Stanford-le-Hope at 2.55am this morning (May 25).

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The stolen van, the force said, made its way to Upminster where it was used to steal the ATM.

It was then loaded into another stolen van that drove back into Essex on the A127.

The suspects “decamped” from the van after being confronted by police and made off, the tweets said.

They have not been traced despite police searching the area.

Both the vans, the force said, have been seized by police and the ATM has been recovered.

A spokesperson for Met Police confirmed that they were called at 3.07am after an alarm activated at the shop. 

The attending officers saw that the doors of the premises had been forced open. Part of an ATM machine at the front of the store had been stolen, the spokesperson said.

A crime scene was put in place, and the suspected perpetrators were stopped by Essex Police. 

The Met spokesperson added: "The suspects managed to get into another car travelling alongside it and made off from the scene."

The Recorder also contacted Waitrose, and a spokesperson from the store expressed gratitude to the police for their swift response.

They said Waitrose has provided CCTV footage to the officers and they will continue to support them in their investigation. 

They added: "We'd like to thank our customers for their patience while we worked to reopen the shop today."

Enquiries continue.