Llanfair Caereinion has been without a cash machine for more almost eight weeks following an attempted break-in at a petrol station in October.

It has come as another blow to rural communities trying to keep local amenities open, forcing people to make long trips to neighbouring towns or villages to access cash.

The nearest free-of-charge cash machine is a 15-minute car journey to Sainsburys supermarket in Welshpool.

Since the branches of HSBC and NatWest closed in the town in 2016 and 2014 respectively, residents have relied on withdrawing cash from the ATM at Londis garage.

Businesses say it is a “dreadful” situation not having a single cash machine in a town which serves a large rural area.

Police believe that the attempted theft was connected with an incident in Presteigne (pictured above) after a cash machine was blown up by thieves on November 13.

A staff member at Banwy Bakery said: “Everyday we’ve had people complaining about the lack of cash machines. People are very frustrated. There’s a large elderly population in the town who tend to pay things with cash.

“It’s a busy town with three hairdressers, cafe, butchers and now a new antiques shop. Something needs doing. It’s dreadful, especially in a busy town like Llanfair Caereinion.”

Cllr Gareth Jones, county councillor for Llanfair Caereinion, said cash machine provider Cardtronics are reluctant to commit one way or another.

“It’s a bit worrying that it hasn’t been replaced because it’s having an impact on businesses. We need to stress to them how important it is to have a cash machine in Llanfair Caereinion,” he added.

Research by consumer group Which? says communities are losing access to cash machines and the problem is set to get worse.

Cardtronics said they are unable to put an exact date on the reinstatement of the machine at Londis yet.

A spokesperson said: “We know how important it is for local communities to be able to access cash. After an attack on an ATM, we reassess the security measures together with the site owner, to prevent the ATM being targeted in the future.

“In this instance we are working with the customer to get the ATM back up and running.”