Burglars tried to blow open cash machine at Co-op in Leicestershire village
Burglars tried to blow open a cash machine by pouring an explosive substance into it and igniting it.
Two intruders broke into the Co-Op, in Dog and Gun Lane, Whetstone, last week when the store was closed.
It is understood they managed to feed an unknown gas or liquid into the shop's cash machine using a tube, then ignited it.
However, the blast did not open the machine as they had anticipated and the men fled empty-handed.
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A security industry source said the method was virtually unheard of in this country.
He said: "It's common in other countries, including South Africa, but not here.
"There would be widespread concern in the industry if we started to see cases such as this become common here.
"In other countries, it has caused loss of life.
"Obviously, putting explosive material into a confined space and igniting it is potentially a very dangerous thing to do.
"There's also the risk it could incinerate the money inside the machine.
"These machines and their anti-theft devices are quite robust and they seem to have done their job in this case.
"Because of security characteristics of these machines, they tend to be very unattractive to criminals."
Whetstone district councillor Karl Coles said: "I've never heard of anything like this before. It's very worrying because somebody could have been seriously injured.
"It sounds like they have failed because they didn't use enough of the substance. The concern is they will do this again but next time use more."
Leicestershire Police are investigating the break-in, which happened at 12.05am on Wednesday.
A spokeswoman said: "It is not believed anything was taken in the incident.
"Officers would like to speak to anyone who was passing through the area and saw anything suspicious."
A spokesman for Midlands Co-operative said: "Two men forced entry into the store and attempted to break into the ATM.
"Our prevention measures were activated and the men left with nothing. No colleagues or customers were involved in this incident and we are working with the police on their investigation."
Contact Leicestershire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, which is anonymous, on 0800 555111.