Elderly villagers received emergency bread and milk from kind Co-op staff after thieves used a digger to ram-raid the village shop – forcing it to shut for three days.
Police were called to Steeple Claydon at 3.30am on Tuesday to reports of a ram-raid. Officers quickly cordoned off the area as they searched for clues.
It is believed that a digger was used to smash into the Co-op and a van was then used to drag the cash point away from the wall. Thieves made off with the ATM.
The store, in West Street, was forced to shut for three days while the clean-up operation took place.
But duty manager Igor Kanchukovskyi - concerned that elderly residents would be without access to food while the shop was out of action - helped take bread, milk and cookies to some of them while the shop was shut.
Wyn Pratt, 78, who received bread and milk from Co-op worker Lorraine Whitehead, said: “I was really surprised. When I see Lorraine at the shop, I will definitely thank her again.
“It was terrible, what happened. People didn’t want to even go down there and look.”
Mr Kanchukovskyi, who received a text message telling him about the ram-raid said: “I couldn’t really believe it.
“My first thought was: ‘What are the customers going to do?’
“There is big damage to the building but also to the community.
“A lot of people are not able to travel far for a shop. So we gave some of the short-life items to elderly people.”
Mr Kanchukovskyi thanked manager Catherine Orr for her help during what has been a difficult time for everyone.
But, he said, the thieves might have egg on their faces because the ATM was actually due for a refill.
“Do your homework better and get a job,” he said, as if he was speaking to the burglars. “Because the machine was pretty much empty. It’s regularly filled up and I know it was pretty much empty.”
Mr Kanchukovskyi said many residents heard a ‘loud noise of a lorry and bricks’ when the ram-raid took place.
The staff have pulled together to help clean up the shop which was filled with bricks and dust.
It is due to reopen tomorrow morning if damaged cables can be repaired in time.
Anyone with any information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.