New £100k plot to thwart ram-raid attackers targeting cashpoints across Cambridgeshire

Ram raid in Bassingbourn in Cambridgeshire overnight on 12-13 October 2023.
Credit: Cambridgeshire Police.
The aftermath of a ram-rain in Bassingbourn in October 2023. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A six-figure sum has been promised to strengthen defences for cash machines against ram-raid gangs which have plagued shops across a county.

South Cambridgeshire District Council cabinet has approved plans for up to £100,000 to be spent on boosting protection for some of the ATMs in the area with heavy-duty planters.

The spending will be made a priority after several attacks on cash machines in the district since last summer as well as others in neighbouring areas.

Raids have seen ATMs torn out of the wall with diggers and telehandlers, which were then left at the scene, and have taken place in Bassingbourn, Whittlesey and Soham.

There were also multiple ram-raid attempts in Linton and St Neots.

The first ATM to benefit from the new district council cash will be at the Co-op in School Lane, Cambourne.

The damage from a ram-raid in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in 2023. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The £100,000 windfall comes after Cambridgeshire Police asked members of the public to "adopt" cash machines to stop future attacks from thieves.

Police are keen to reduce the vulnerability of ATMs in rural areas and to prevent attempts by thieves to cause damage and inconvenience to nearby communities.

Bill Handley, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s lead cabinet member for communities, said: "Cash machines remain important for many of us, despite the continued trend towards online banking.

"They provide an important service, especially for people who have problems with mobility or who are unable to use online services.

"Ram-raiding ATMs isn't just about stealing money; it's a destructive act that disrupts daily life and undermines our sense of security.

"I’m hopeful that this project will help prevent – or at least slow down – thieves, whilst also providing a pleasant addition to High Streets in the form of more plants and flowers.”

Det Chief Insp Chris O’Brien, from Cambridgeshire Police, said: “We know how much misery and devastation ATM thefts and ram raids can bring.

"This innovation and joint working showcases our commitment to tackling serious and organised crime within the county."

Research is being carried out into which other cash machines could benefit from increased protection which will involve discussions with town and parish councils.

Funding for the projects has come from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority after securing it from the central government.

Dr Nik Johnson, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: "Ram-raids on cash machines can be distressing for communities and often disproportionately impact the most vulnerable in our communities.

"I hope the steps being taken give confidence and reassure to those communities impacted by previous ram-raids."

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