Cash ma­chine raid £30,000 re­ward

CATCH THEM: Po­lice in­ten­sify op­er­a­tion to track down ATM snatch gangs

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION - by Jo Robert­son

A £30,000 re­ward is be­ing of­fered for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to the charg­ing and con­vic­tion of thieves re­spon­si­ble for re­cent cash ma­chine thefts in Kent.

Kent Po­lice, the bank­ing in­dus­try and cash ma­chine dis­trib­u­tors are jointly of­fer­ing the money to en­cour­age peo­ple to come for­ward with in­for­ma­tion about the crimes at ATMs, in­clud­ing those in Wye, Hawkinge and New Rom­ney.

A spe­cial hot­line num­ber has been es­tab­lished by Kent Po­lice for peo­ple to call.

A ded­i­cated team of of­fi­cers is now busy fol­low­ing lines of in­quiry to es­tab­lish sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the thefts and in­ves­ti­gate if there are any links.

Many of the de­tec­tives al­ready have ex­pe­ri­ence of deal­ing with this type of crime fol­low­ing a se­ries of sim­i­lar thefts two years ago.

That in­ves­ti­ga­tion led to seven peo­ple be­ing con­victed of steal­ing cash ma­chines, re­ceiv­ing jail terms that to­talled 33 years.

So far this year, there have been nine in­ci­dents across the county. Two have been at­tempted thefts where the crim­i­nals failed to take any money.

As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble Al­lyn Thomas said: “I urge any­one with in­for­ma­tion to call the hot­line num­ber we’ve set up. We will treat calls in strictest con­fi­dence.

“The theft of cash ma­chines is a na­tional prob­lem, not just one in Kent.

“Po­lice have been work­ing for some time with the bank­ing in­dus­try to en­cour­age com­pa­nies to in­stall se­cu­rity mea­sures to make thieves’ ef­forts to steal cash ma­chines dif­fi­cult.

“This in­cludes the use of red dye which spoils all of the money and vis­i­bly stains the thieves in the event of a cash ma­chine be­ing tam­pered with.

Bolted

“Also, many free­stand­ing ma­chines are now bolted se­curely to the floor.”

Po­lice have also talked to build­ing firms about ways in which they can en­sure plant ma­chin­ery is se­cured.

“Of­fi­cers con­tinue to urge the users of dig­gers and other large ma­chin­ery to make sure they are se­cure to help re­duce the op­por­tu­nity for thieves to use them in an at­tempt to steal cash ma­chines.

Mr Thomas added: “The pub­lic can also help the po­lice by call­ing 999 if they see the un­usual move­ment of dig­gers and sim­i­lar plant ma­chin­ery at night or peo­ple act­ing sus­pi­ciously near banks and shops with cash ma­chines.”

The hot­line num­ber to call if you have any in­for­ma­tion that can help Kent Po­lice trace the thieves is 01622 654321.

Pic­ture: Terry Scott pd1154394

The scene of a cash ma­chine rob­bery at Tesco in Hawkinge

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