Members of a gang who tried to steal a cash machine have been branded with a chemical - which will stay on their skin for up to five years.

The three thieves broke into the Co-op store in Maple Road, Brooklands, near Sale, Greater Manchester, early on Friday.

They attached a chain to their getaway vehicle and dragged the machine out of the shop.

As they smashed the machine, built-in security mechanisms fitted by ATM operator Cardtronics were triggered.

Credit: MEN Media

An Ink was released within the safe, staining all the notes inside with an indelible dye.

The thieves dumped the cash, which had been rendered useless.

The machine also sprayed the men with forensic DNA markers - an invisible gel.

It will shine under ultraviolet light for up to five years. Criminals tagged with the technology are convicted in 100 per cent of cases.

Greater Manchester Police said the raid took place at 12.30am and that no arrests have been made so far.

The same-store was the target of a previous raid, in which a hole in the wall cash machine was blown up.

As a result of that, the Co-op moved the ATM inside the premises.

Anyone with information is asked to contact GMP on 0161 856 6018, quoting crime reference number 94/06/12/19.