‘WE’RE not going to let the criminals defeat us.’ That’s the message from managers of a garage business, which was back open soon after the premises were targeted in a ram raid.

Raiders attempted to steal an ATM machine by driving a stolen vehicle into the front of the shop at Maiden Newton Service Station in the early hours of Wednesday.

The gang didn’t succeed but substantial damage was caused to the shopfront.

Initial estimates put the damage at £20,000 but it is likely to be more than double that figure, said Olly Andrews whose family runs the service station in Dorchester Road, Maiden Newton.

Dorset Police are linking the ram raid to similar incidents which have happened across Dorset and Somerset.

The gang responsible is stealing vehicles before smashing into premises to get at ATM machines.

Mr Andrews said the garage was back open on Thursday afternoon although there were a few ‘teething problems’ but it was fully open again on Friday.

The main entrance is boarded up and customers are directed to use the side entrance.

Mr Andrews said: “We will not let them defeat us. We were closed for one-and-a-half days before we opened up again.

“It is going to be some time before everything is back to normal but we are trading again.

“The damage is more than we thought. When we finally got in there after forensics had been in we saw the extent of the damage.

“The electrics were affected and a surge has affected other equipment.”

Mr Andrews said customers had been supportive.