An explosion has destroyed the front of a Post Office after thieves tried to steal a cash machine.
The explosion happened around 4.45am this morning (Mon) in the Spondon area of Derby.
Fortunately nobody was injured in the blast, but debris from the shop was thrown across the surrounding pavement.
Derbyshire Police said thieves had tried to steal the Post Office's cash machine, and the ATM was moved about a foot by the force of the blast.
Postmaster Sandeep Sarda said he is 'devastated' as the store will have to close for a while. He said: "Absolutely disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful. There are livelihoods that depend on it, a number of staff members work here, unfortunately I've had to simply ask them to go back home.
"I'm extremely annoyed and quite devastated, it does mean we have to close for a number of days until the Post Office have been in. We are the only Post Office in the community and of course pensioners, young mothers, all sorts of customers get affected.
"It's a huge loss to me. There is a lot of Post Office money in there, there is my stock in there, coming up to Christmas is not the best of times. As you can imagine, (the culprits) have been rather heavy handed and until we can assess the damage, I won't be able to comment any further."
Local councillors referred to the blast as a 'major incident', with neighbours mistaking the noise as a firework going off.
Jean Wolley said: "I got out of bed and I was so shaken from it. It was like a firework just exploded. I don't remember a huge amount. I ran into my son's room and just asked him what the hell had happened.
"I'm still waiting for the fire service to come and see if I can go back into the home."
The flat above the Post Office was also damaged in the incident.
Derbyshire police confirmed the incident was not a terrorist attack and assured local residents that they were safe.
In a statement, they said: "Officers were called to the Post Office on Chapel Street in Spondon this morning to reports of an explosion. On arrival it was found that an attempt to steal the ATM machine had been made.
"Enquiries are still in the early stage. Anyone with information relating to the incident is asked to contact us on 101 quoting incident number 86 of October 22."