A huge explosion heralded the start of a "very brazen" early morning raid on a Co-op cash machine in the Harborough district.
Noisy thieves used a gas canister and either a Stihl saw or angle grinder to force their way into the ATM of the Co-op in Linden Drive, Lutterworth early on Friday morning.
Three or four thieves constantly yelled instructions at each other as the burglary - that lasted around 12 minutes - progressed, neighbours said.
The gang then left in a black or very dark coloured estate car, carrying cassettes from the ATM containing money.
The cassettes were found later in the morning, discarded in Church Lane Gilmorton, about four-and-a-half miles north-east of Lutterworth.
Police said "significant damage" was caused to the premises during the incident, and are appealing for more information.
Anna Low, who lives close to the Co-Op, told the Mail: "My husband Hamish and I were woken by a really big bang at about 3.40am on Friday morning.
"We've had work done on our house, so my first thought was that the builders had done something to a gas pipe. But we looked out of our window and saw a lot of smoke round the Co-op building.
"I think there were three, maybe four men out there, and there was constant noise and shouting - it felt like it was very brazen. My husband phoned the police, but the thieves were gone in not much more than 10 minutes."
Another neighbour, Duncan Burns, said: "I was asleep at the back of the house, but I could still hear everything - the explosion, the shouting and what seemed like an angle-grinder. They didn't seem to be worried about making a noise.
A third neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she heard a "huge noise" and then recognised the burglar alarm of the Co-Op ringing out.
"I could hear the men shouting to each other - they were British, with no obvious accent," she said. "I saw them leave in a large, modern, black estate car. The whole thing took about 12 minutes."
Police are reviewing CCTV and have conducted initial enquiries at the scene.
Anyone who may have information about the incident, or who saw a similar vehicle in the area between 3am-4am this morning, is urged to call 101 quoting incident 53 of September 8.