ATM crime ‘epidemic’ costing UK £150 million
THE UK is experiencing an “epidemic” of criminal attacks on cash machines, a report warns. The overall cost of attacks on cash machines over the last year may have exceeded £150 million, according to calculations by ATM operator Cardtronics.
Rural areas are increasingly at risk, its report found, leaving people living in remote areas struggling to access cash from elsewhere while machines are being repaired or replaced.
While fewer than a third (31 per cent) of ATM attacks were carried out in rural areas in 2013, this number has risen to more than two-fifths (42 per cent) in 2018.
Over 40 per cent of attacks in the first half of 2018 were carried out in areas where there was a maximum of one bank branch open for customers, the report said.
Cardtronics said the frequency of ATM attacks generally had soared from 400 in 2014 to 722 in 2017.
The report also predicts that the number of attacks could more than triple between 2016 and 2025.
Cardtronics, which said the UK was experiencing “an epidemic of criminal attacks on its ATMs”, said criminals were increasingly using dangerous methods, such as explosions or ramraids, to remove cash from machines.
The report, entitled ‘The Victimless Crime?’, said it could take up to fourand-a-half months for the ATM to reopen following an attack – having an impact on the local economy and depriving residents of their access to cash for a significant time period.
The report concludes that on top of the direct cost of the attacks, estimated to be £46.8 million, criminals could have put as much as £110 million of direct community spend at risk in the past 12 months.
The direct cost of attacks includes damage done to ATMs and property, while the calculation for money lost through direct community spend is based on how much money withdrawn from local ATMs tends to be spent by consumers in the immediate surrounding area.
Tim Halford, managing director of Cardtronics UK and Ireland, said the wider damage caused by ATM attacks was far greater than the direct impact to cash machines or the buildings they were located in.
He said: “ATM attacks are not victimless crimes, which is why we need the Government, police forces, civil society organisations and the ATM industry to take action now to contain the threat of future ATM attacks.”
Cardtronics said it wanted to see a “zero tolerance” policy on ATM crime, harsher prison sentences and enhanced surveillance equipment to provide evidence of cash machine crime.
The report was based on industry figures and consumer research as well as analysis by information technology agency CACI.
ATM attacks are not victimless crimes, which is why we need action now