Vig­i­lance call as cash ma­chine raids con­tinue

Hinckley Times - - NEWS - KAREN HAM­BRIDGE karen.ham­bridge@trin­i­tymir­

DE­TEC­TIVES in­ves­ti­gat­ing the raft of at­tacks on ATMs across the county are urg­ing peo­ple to be vig­i­lant and be their eyes and ears in the com­mu­nity.

Up to Au­gust this year, Le­ices­ter­shire Po­lice have in­ves­ti­gated 137 of­fences in­volv­ing cash ma­chines, in­clud­ing au­da­cious raids on the dis­pensers them­selves.

And the spate of of­fences shows no sign of stop­ping. The last few weeks have seen ma­chines tar­geted at an Aldi store in Coalville, an of­fli­cence in Car­di­nals Walk, Le­ices­ter, and a stand­alone ATM in a car park in Oakham.

Lo­ca­tions in the bor­ough have also suc­cumbed. In the sum­mer, Stoney Stan­ton Co-op was hit when thieves used a JCB dig­ger to smash the front of the store to ac­cess the ATM.

Shop shut­ters and win­dows were shat­tered and dam­age caused to brick­work as the raiders rammed their way into the build­ing on July 27 shortly be­fore 3am.

The JCB used in the raid had been stolen from Gil­morten ear­lier that night and was left at the scene in Stoney Stan­ton. Two get­away ve­hi­cles were later found in Nail­stone.

Sim­i­lar in­ci­dents have oc­curred across the county and city. Other of­fences have also dogged the dis­pensers in­clud­ing rob­beries at knife­point, scores of sneak thefts and a dozen in­ci­dents of ‘skim­ming’ de­vices at­tached to cash ma­chines in order to ob­tain cus­tomers’ de­tails or cards be­fore raid­ing ac­counts are in­cluded.

De­tec­tive Chief In­spec­tor Rob Wid­dow­son is over­see­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the ATM thefts. He said: “We know these in­ci­dents are caus­ing a great deal of alarm within the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and we are ac­tively in­ves­ti­gat­ing all the in­ci­dents and work­ing with neigh­bour­ing forces to iden­tify any links or sim­i­lar­i­ties with in­ci­dents they may have had.

“We are di­rect­ing our pa­trols to ru­ral and main ar­te­rial routes and work­ing with ATM providers and busi­nesses to im­prove se­cu­rity. A num­ber of of­fi­cers and staff are in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tions and they are work­ing tire­lessly to bring those re­spon­si­ble to jus­tice

“How­ever we also need your help to catch these crim­i­nals. The thefts are noisy work and the per­pe­tra­tors may work up to 15 min­utes each time in the mid­dle of the night with lights, this type of ac­tiv­ity should grab at­ten­tion so please be vig­i­lant. Re­port any un­usual or sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity im­me­di­ately to us so we can re­spond in a timely man­ner.

“Dur­ing some in­ci­dents heavy plant ma­chin­ery has been used to ex­tract the cash ma­chines from the walls or build­ings, if you see one of these ve­hi­cles be­ing driven in the mid­dle of the night, call us. Even if you’re not 100% sure that there is any­thing un­to­ward we would rather re­ceive the in­for­ma­tion, we can quickly elim­i­nate any calls where ve­hi­cles have been used gen­uinely.”

Any­one with any in­for­ma­tion about any of the in­ci­dents is asked to con­tact 101 or anony­mously via Crimestop­pers, on 0800 555 111.

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