ATM crime ‘epi­demic’ cost­ing UK £150 mil­lion

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - News - VICKY SHAW [email protected]­erndai­ly­press.co.uk

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

TIM HAL­FORD

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