The early morning tranquillity of a peaceful Derbyshire town was shattered this morning when a gang tried unsuccessfully to make an unauthorised withdrawal from a town centre cash machine.

At around 04:30 on Tuesday the 15th July several bricks were thrown at cars parked in Melbourne town centre resulting in smashed windscreens and bodywork damage on at least two cars.

This  was seen by police as a diversion to draw attention away from an attempted robbery at a nearby branch of National Westminster bank when an automated cash withdrawal machine was targeted by woefully inept criminals.

After wrecking the machine in their unsuccessful attempt at robbery, the gang then tried to break into the bank by "discreetly" smashing two large, plate glass windows, both attempts were foiled when the noise woke up many of the towns residents and the police were called.

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The nearest officers were thought to be about nine miles away and questions are being asked as to why the first officer arrived on the scene about thirty minutes after the emergency phone call. By then the gang had escaped, leaving behind local car owners in tears at the damage to their vehicles.

One young lady in particular said that she was to have driven to London, a distance of over a hundred miles to attend a job interview, her first since graduating from university.

This was the latest in a series of attempted robberies in town, just about five miles from East Midlands airport, all of them having taken place in the early hours of the morning. Previously shops have been targeted, cars stolen or vandalised, allotments ruined and sheds broken into.

Many of the local business owners are said to be unhappy about there being no permanent police presence in the town, the nearest thing being a police community support officer.

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Melbourne has a large retired community who are increasingly worried by what they percieve to be a lack of support from the police.The issue ties in with the greater detriment to public security as a result of cuts in police funding over the course of the last government.