16/12/2009

ATM Security Boosted

As the number of ram-raid attacks on automated teller machine (ATMs) climbed higher this week, a dedicated group to counter the thefts has been revealed.

Paul Goggins, (pictured) the NIO Security Minister - who also chairs the Organised Crime Task Force - (OCTF) met the PSNI, the NI Policing Board and senior representatives from the banking sector as the latest step in the action to counter the growth in ATM attacks.

The membership will monitor the situation daily and the senior politician will meet them again early in the New Year.

The discussion considered current security measures, the scope for additional measures including, the use of new technologies and the importance of partnership working to address the risk of further attacks.

After the meeting, Mr Goggins said: "The recent attacks on ATM machines across Northern Ireland are an attack on the whole community.

"These are not victimless crimes; neither are they simply crimes against financial institutions.

"Local businesses are suffering and communities are being left without vital amenities in the run up to Christmas," he said, noting that, while "it would be inappropriate to publicise it, no-one should be in any doubt that there is a lot of work going on to catch those responsible and to put in place measures to prevent further attacks".
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"It is important that the police, the local community and the banks work together to stop those responsible from being able to carry out further attacks and to gather the information necessary to bring before the courts the perpetrators," Mr Goggins continued.

"I welcome the fact that a reward of up to £25,000 has been offered for anyone who can help catch the criminals and note that the OCTF is already giving these attacks the highest priority."

Meanwhile, police in Co Fermanagh have found the remains of two ATMs. They were discovered along with a lorry and a car in woodland near Rosslea after reports that a lorry carrying stolen cash machines had been dumped there.

It is believed the ATMs were those taken from two banks in Cootehill, Co Cavan, on Saturday.

The dark Honda Civic and a Volvo sand lorry with a white cab are being removed for further examination.

Other thieves are also busy, as, in Belfast yesterday, a robber wrestled a cash box from a security guard delivering cash to a Spar shop and petrol station on the Knock dual carriageway.

The robber threatened shop staff and held his gun to the head of a 23-year-old female staff member.

He ran out with the box, which held a substantial sum of money, and hijacked a customer's red Ford Fiesta from the forecourt, then fled into the Braniel estate.

See: Latest ATM Robbery Fails

See: ATM Gang Strikes Again

(BMcC/KMcA)

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