Three thieves used an oxy-acetylene torch to melt a hole in a petrol station cash machine and steal nearly £10,000.

Detectives are appealing for witnesses and information after the ATM was broken into at the Esso garage in the High Street, Wootton Bassett.

The gang of three men are believed to have used the torch to carve out a small square next to the screen to gain access to the money.

They are also understood to have placed advertising stands around the machine to conceal them while they carried out the theft between 12.4am and 1.05am on Wednesday last week.

Garage manager Chandra Kan said he had never known of such an case in his 12 years in the trade.

“Fortunately the garage was closed and no one was hurt but I have never heard of anything like this – it is a first for me,” he said.

Police are hoping witnesses may have noticed the men, who were believed to be wearing dark, hooded type clothing, or a Volkswagen Scirocco that had been spotted in the area twice during last week.

A 40-year-old man from the Bristol area has been arrested in connection with the incident and is on police bail.

Detective Constable Jane Hughes said: “A significant amount of cash was taken and we are very keen to hear from anyone who witnessed this, knows anything about it or who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area at the time.

“We are also keen to hear from people who may have seen a brand new black Volkswagen Scirocco during the early hours of September 14.

“What is believed to be the same vehicle was also seen in the town on September 11.”

Anyone with any information in relation to this incident should contact Melksham CID by calling 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.