The UK is the middle of an ATM crime wave epidemic, research by Lockpoint demonstrates.
Cash machines are being violently attacked on an almost daily basis across the country – and the problem could actually be much worse.
The Lockpoint research is based on a day-by-day analysis of all ATM-related incidents that are reported in news media anywhere in the UK.
However, because not all police forces routinely release information about crime to the media, and because not all media report all incidents, the true figure is likely to be at least double that identified by the survey.
The research identified 99 separate violent attacks on ATMs or CiT teams over a 16-week period from mid-May 2017 to mid-September. By some distance the most frequent form attack was the “ram raid”, with criminals using stolen building contractors’ vehicles, such as JCBs or agricultural machinery to smash the ATM out of the building.
Some 55 such attacks were recorded, from Fife, in the north, to Kent in the south, and with a slight bias towards the east of the country, although there were attacks in Manchester and North Wales.
There were 16 attacks using injected gas, with clear clusters around Bristol, Greater Manchester and Merseyside, and the East Midlands. All but one of these attacks took place n September, suggesting a repeat of previous patterns in which one gang may be active in a specific area at a specific time. Gas attacks require more expertise and sentences for those who get caught are much longer than for ram-raiding and thus the pattern of attack reflects a more sophisticated type of hardened criminal conspirator.
Three armed duress attacks on CiT teams were recorded, reinforcing the notion that this remains a small but significant threat. There were nine attempts to remove ATMs by force during a burglary, eight successful removals of an entire ATM during a burglary (one in broad daylight) and five unsuccessful attempts to gain entry to an ATM during a burglary.
“Our research bears out the findings of other surveys that have identified distinct regional trends to ATM crime,” said Stan Abbott, Head of Communications at Lockpoint.
“It also reinforces our view that the most effective defence against all these crimes is the Gryphon system, as it reduces the ‘reward’ for armed robbery, offers a 100 per cent defence against gas attack and makes it close to very difficult for cash to be removed from an ATM, even when taken off site. Combining the Gryphon with our Padfoot therefore offers a strong guarantee against a successful ram raid.
“We say ‘Look after the cash and everything else will take care of itself!’.”
One encouraging finding of the research was that there also a significant number of convictions for a variety of violent ATM crimes during the course of the survey, with one hapless gas attacker caught out using easily identifiable Scottish bank notes on a holiday spending spree.