A NOISE like an explosion was heard as raiders attacked a supermarket cash machine early on Friday.

It is thought an explosive device was used in the raid which has caused major damage to the Co-op store in Cullingworth at half past midnight.

Police are investigating and have said while there were no injuries, the incident could "quite easily have caused serious injury or death". 

There is speculation that a petrol bomb was used.

The store was cordoned off by police while work was carried out to make the building safe.

It re-opened later in the afternoon.

A large hole could be seen in one of the shop's external walls and damage has also been caused to the fascia of the building.

A post on Oxenhope Online Facebook page said: "There is a police cordon in Cullingworth from the War Memorial, The Dell and Greenside Lane.

"There is NO access through by pedestrians or cars and therefore anyone walking/driving will need to go up through the village, left at the mini roundabout and then left down Hallowes Park Road to connect with Greenside Lane and Parkside Terrace."

Police have stepped up patrols in the village to reassure the community.

A police spokesman said: “Detectives are appealing for information following a commercial burglary at the Co-op in Greenside Lane, Cullingworth.

"Detectives believe the offenders were targeting an ATM cash machine, not believed to have been operated by the Co-Op Bank, at the location after a number of witnesses described hearing reports of a minor explosion at the location around 00:31am.

"The suspects are then believed to have made off in a vehicle.

"Greenside Lane, Halifax Road and Dellside Road were closed overnight while officers carried out their enquiries. Those roads have now reopened."

Detective Inspector Richard McNamara, of Bradford District CID, added: “Extensive police inquiries are continuing and I would like to re-assure the local community that I have a dedicated team of detectives working on this”.

“Luckily no-one was hurt in this incident, but the actions of those responsible could quite easily have caused serious injury or death.

"There is damage to part of the building which resulted in a number of roads being closed overnight and the retail premises remains closed.

“A number of witnesses have come forward and I wish to thank the public for support with our investigation.

"We have a number of lines of inquiry that we are following up.

“Neighbourhood Policing Team officers are also in the area to offer support and re-assurance to the local community.

“I would urge anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity or indeed suspicious persons in the area prior to or at the time of the incident, or anyone who has any information in relation to this matter to contact West Yorkshire Police.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call Bradford CID via 101, quoting reference 50 of November 10.

Councillor Simon Cooke (Con, Bingley Rural) said he would be having discussions with the police following this incident. 

He said: “It does strike me as a deliberate targeted act. It was organised. A lot of people are worried after it. It is a proper mess I gather.

“It’s a bit worrying. It is a concern for our lovely rural village to be targeted in this way, you don’t expect it to happen here.

"There has been robberies of this Co-op before, but this is a different kind of level. 

“I would say to people don’t overreact. I would say to people to be vigilant.” 

Horrified residents living close to the store spoke of their shock following the raid.

They described hearing a massive bang in the early hours.

Jean Capuvanno's home, in Roydwood Terrace, is only yards from the shop.

She was watching TV when the incident occurred.

"It was like a bomb going off – it really frightened me," she said.

"As soon as I heard it I thought 'that's the Co-op'.

"I went outside to see what was happening and neighbours were coming out too. Everyone had heard it.

"Obviously it was dark so you couldn't see a lot but it's left a right mess."

She said the store had been targeted by raiders in the past.

"I've lived here about five-and-a-half years and in that time alone there have been at least three incidents," she said.

Her next-door neighbour, Sue Brown, was woken by the noise.

"I was fast asleep but it was so loud. I could feel my bed shake. It was really frightening."

Another resident, who didn't want to be named, said: "I feel for the staff at the shop. It's a really popular store – everyone uses it."

The Co-op confirmed there had been an attack on the store's cash machine in the early hours.

A spokesman added: "Fortunately no one was present at the time, but the store is closed while police investigate this matter and we assess the damage caused.

"We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience and would ask anybody with information to come forward to the police."

Shortly after 5pm, the Co-op confirmed the store had re-opened.