LOCKPOINT – the UK company responsible for snuffing out armed attacks on the country’s cash machines – is leading the fight against a new and even more dangerous threat.
The company’s Gryphon3, to be launched at the industry’s premier showcase event this week, has been developed to prevent reckless gangs from blowing up cash machines, or ATMs, and making off with the contents.
The explosive attacks first came to the UK in 2013, since when banks and other ATM owners have racked up seven-figure losses in cash and other damage caused when the gangs, who show little regard for public or their own safety, inject acetylene or other gas into cash machines and blow them up. The wave of criminal attacks has gathered pace over the last month with the most recent spate of attacks focussed on the South East of England.
The Gryphon range was first developed with Lockpoint’s engineering and electronics partners to counter the threat to cash-in-transit teams who were being ambushed when they arrived to replenish the cash machines. It uses a system of interlocking “intelligent” electronic steel doors to make robbery unattractive because no more than one of the four drawers of cash can be open at any time. The sophisticated design of the doors means it is also extremely difficult to break into an ATM, even if a gang rips it out and takes it away in a JCB.
Lockpoint began development of the Gryphon3 when it became clear that the original Gryphon could also protect an ATM against explosive attack. The company teamed up with world-leading explosion research company, Gexcon, and built a theoretical model, which confirmed that the device could indeed protect against gas attack. In fact no criminal has yet succeeded in getting cash out of an ATM protected by a Gryphon in any gas attack to date.
However, the theoretical testing at Gexcon’s UK headquarters, in Ormskirk, Lancashire, identified areas of potential stress in the event of an attack and therefore Lockpoint developed a modification, capable of retro-fitting as the Gryphon2 AG, and as a brand new device, the new Gryphon3.
The Gryphon3 was then subjective to a “worst case scenario” test programme in the field by Gexcon at its laboratory site, near the company’s headquarters in Bergen, Norway. In a series of carefully monitored explosions, Gexcon filled an unprotected ATM with an optimum acetylene mix. The safe was completely destroyed and cash drawers rolled out of the ATM, making it easy for the robbers to make off with the cash.
The test was then repeated with an ATM protected by the Gryphon3 and, although the safe itself was largely destroyed, the device stood firm, leaving the cash secure. Lockpoint and Gexcon then exploded a third safe in front of an invited audience from the industry and police and the cash again remained secure. In both cases a Lockpoint engineer was even able to open the Gryphon doors using special electronic tools, and safely remove the cash.
Among witnesses was DC Adrian Roberts, of the West Midlands Organised Crime Unit and UK representative to Interpol on ATM gas attacks. He said afterwards: “I am really impressed. The machine protected the cash, which is obviously what the criminals are after, and hopefully it will be a massive deterrent to them.”
And Terence Bourke, Head of Security and Risk at ATM provider Cardtronics, added: “After seeing the tests live and also previously seeing them simulated, I do have a lot of confidence that, should a gas attack occur where a Gryphon is deployed, the criminals are not going to be able to touch the money, which is the main the objective.”
Lockpoint Chief Executive Bill Price added: “The criminal world is always looking for new ways to deprive law-abiding citizens and businesses of their cash, and the use of explosive gases in raids on ATMs has been a particularly worrying development – not least because of the danger such attacks pose to the general public.
“I always believed the Gryphon3 would work, but it was absolutely extraordinary to see all the work, effort and determination we had to solve this problem vindicated.”
He also praised the high standards of engineering innovation and manufacture by Lockpoint’s partner, Newcastle-based Responsive Engineering, which has been involved in the Gryphon from its inception to the Gryphon3.
The company’s Managing Director, Graeme Cook, said: “We specialise in developing solutions to complex engineering challenges and we have been delighted to have been able to help Lockpoint to achieve its position at the forefront of the battle against dangerous thugs.”
And Phil Nelson, Business Development Manager at Opsol UK, which developed the Gryphon electronics from its base in Cramlington, Northumberland, added: “We are very proud to have been able to play a part in manufacturing and supplying this extremely effective answer to the criminal threat.”
Issued for Lockpoint by Gravity Consulting. For further information, contact Stan Abbott 07815 777256; 0191 383 2838.
PICTURE SHOWS Lockpoint CEO Bill Price with an ATM, which survived an “optimal” explosion thanks to being fitted with a Gryphon3
Watch a video of Lockpoint’s live explosion testing of the gryphon3.