Cash machine raid £30,000 reward
CATCH THEM: Police intensify operation to track down ATM snatch gangs
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.
“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.
The scene of a cash machine robbery at Tesco in Hawkinge