Vigilance call as cash machine raids continue
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.