Police plan to discuss security with a Bradford food store after ram raiders caused thousands of pounds damage in a bid to steal a cash-point machine.

The raiders used two stolen cars to smash their way into the front entrance of the Co-op store in High Street, Queensbury, but were foiled when they tried to rip the cash machine from its mountings.

The top of the machine broke off but the main part, containing the money, remained embedded in the ground and the thieves fled empty-handed.

After the raid, which took place just before 1.20am on Tuesday, police and a local councillor expressed concerns about the lack of use of a metal security barrier designed to prevent access to the store's car park.

Councillor Michael Walls, (Con, Queensbury) said he had raised the issue of the barrier not being closed and locked at night by staff following a similar ram raid at the premises a couple of years ago. He said: "I had complaints from people about the barrier not being locked and raised it with the Co-op. They told me there were health and safety issues involved but they did start locking it for a while.

"When the latest raid took place the barrier was not in position and the ram raiders just drove in. They need to look at the situation because there are other issues.

"Undesirable people go into the car park at night. We have had two or three cars burned out there and it provides a refuge for drug dealers and idiots in cars annoying the residents."

Detective Constable Neil King, of Bradford North CID, said a Suzuki Swift hatchback car and a Mitsubishi Shogun, both stolen in Bradford, had been used to smash down the roller shutter doors of the store.

He said an attempt was then made to pull the cash-point machine from its mountings, but it failed.

Det Con King said substantial damage, running to thousands of pounds, had been caused to the entrance to the store, including a suspended ceiling which had fallen down.

The raiders are thought to have made their getaways in two other cars, possibly a Subaru and a silver Japanese estate car. Det Con King confirmed there had been a ram raid at the store previously.

He said: "The car park should be locked at nights but it seems it is not always. It has been a bit of a problem and we'll take that up with the Co-op."

A spokesman for United Co-operatives said: "The incident was recorded by CCTV and we are now assisting the local police who are trying to catch the offenders. Due to the timing of the incident no staff were on site, although staff and police were quick to respond to the alarm activation the incident caused. The cost of the damage is currently being assessed."

Anyone with information about the incident should call (01274) 376259, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.