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A police officer responding to a report of a raid on a Sandwell cash machine has been attacked with a sledgehammer.
The 41-year-old was one of two officers who were first to arrive at the scene and was targeted by one man in three-strong gang.
The attack happened shortly before midnight last night (Sunday 24 August) during a botched raid at the Tesco Express store ATM on Hamstead Road, Hamstead.
As the window of his police car was smashed the officer was struck in the head and arm with the sledgehammer.
The group then fled in what is believed to be a dark coloured, high powered, Audi A6 estate which was using false number plates.
Chief Inspector Harvi Khatkar (pictured), from West Midlands Police, said: "Day in day out our officers put their safety on the line to protect the public from some exceptionally dangerous criminals.
"Thankfully in this case the officer escaped major injury, but these were clearly desperate thieves who must be tracked down.
"As the gang drove off, the boot of the car was open. People who were in the area at the time may remember this. I’d urge those people to get in touch along with anyone who saw a dark coloured estate in the area before the crime."
The officer, who is from Sandwell and who joined the force in 2007, was taken to hospital and discharged following treatment for multiple cuts, bruising and severe swelling to his face and arm.
The store was closed at the time and no one else was injured. All three men were dressed in dark coloured clothing and had their faces covered.
CCTV footage which may have captured the crime on camera has been secured and is currently scrutinised by detectives. House to house enquires have been undertaken and forensic scene investigators have combed the site for clues.
Tools used in the raid and which were left at the scene have been seized by police for detailed forensic examination.
An area around the store was sealed off for several hours while police conducted their inquiries.
Anyone with information which may aid detectives should call police on 101. People who don’t want to speak with police officers directly can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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