Fire, ATM theft thought linked

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An ATM was ripped out of a wall at the Darfield post shop in Canterbury early on Sunday. Photo:...
An ATM was ripped out of a wall at the Darfield post shop in Canterbury early on Sunday. Photo: Facebook
A fire that closed a Canterbury highway yesterday could be connected to a bungled ram raid attack on a small-town money machine.

Police are investigating a link between the theft of an ATM in Darfield early on Sunday and a scrub fire at Porters Pass that started some time later and forced the closure of State Highway 73 for a time.

RNZ reported yesterday the fire had covered 100ha.

Police were called about 7am to reports the ATM had been dislodged from the wall of the NZ Post & Kiwibank store.

A trail of destruction was left at the scene, the debris scattered across the footpath and car park.

No money was taken and the front of the ATM was later found dumped on Cridges Rd.

In a statement today police said they believed a Nissan Mistral was involved in the attempt to take the ATM, and a Mistral was later found down a bank off SH73 in the area where the fire is believed to have started.

The vehicle had been stolen overnight on Saturday from a rural property in Bankside.

Police are investigating both incidents and wish to hear from anyone with any information.

A Darfield post shop spokesperson didn't want to comment on the incident, but offered an update to residents on their Facebook page and appealed to anyone who saw the incident to contact police.

"The Westpac money located at Darfield post shop is currently out of order until further notice.

"If anyone has seen anything suspicious from 10pm Saturday night until 5am Sunday in Darfield and on SH73 heading west and on any security cameras, please contact Darfield Police."

While a number of locals will be left inconvenienced by the incident, some poked fun at the failed attempt to get away with the cash.

"And they couldn't even get the money. Useless thiefs," one said.

Another wrote: "God there are some thick and dumb idiots out there."

 - with NZME