POLICE are hunting thieves who blew up a cash machine and stole ‘a large amount of money’ from a mini-market.

The early morning raid on Thursday saw the ATM blown from the wall of the Co-op store on Church Lane in Lowton.

After setting off an explosion the thieves removed all the cash from the machine and made off in a white car down Church Lane.

Greater Manchester Police are appealing for anyone with information about the theft to come forward.

Detective constable Chris Waddicar said: “These men must have struck terror in the community by setting off an explosion in the early hours of the morning.

“They have not only stolen a large amount of money, they have caused a significant amount of damage and disrupted this shop’s day-to-day running.

“People in the area must have heard the noise as the offenders gained entry to the cash machine.

“I am asking for anyone who saw people acting suspiciously, or a white car in the area at the time, to get in touch.”

Police were called to the store at 4.15am following reports of a stolen cash machine.

Fire crews were also called to the mini-market.

A spokesman for the store said it was able to open to the public at its usual time on Thursday morning.

Anyone with information about the theft should contact police on 0161 856 7292 or 101, quoting incident number 241 of September 7. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.