A cash machine in Burnley was “blown up” by robbers using gas cannisters.
The Barclays Bank machine in Colne Road was destroyed in the early morning raid on Sunday.
Known as an “ATM gas attack” the technique has been used by criminals in mainland Europe for several years, but this is believed to be the first such attack in East Lancashire.
Police were called at shortly before 4am on Sunday to reports of a loud bang.
Three men were seen to drive off from the scene in an estate car, possibly an Audi, towards Barnoldswick.
The amount stolen has not been confirmed at this stage. Nobody appears to have been injured in the incident.
Det. Insp Nick Hodgeson, of Burnley Police, said: “We are in the early stages of this inquiry and I would appeal for anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area at the time or anyone who has any information to get in touch.”
Anyone with information should contact police by calling 101 using log number 0199 of January 4th.