South Yorkshire cash machine raids net thieves £500,000

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Thieves ripping cash machines out of walls in ram raids across South Yorkshire have got away with £500,000.

Detectives are investigating 14 raids, including six in South Yorkshire, in which thieves have used forklift-type machinery to knock down walls to release cash machines.

There have been two in Tickhill, one in Harthill, one in Hatfield, one in Stainforth and one off the M18.

The others were in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and Humberside.

The most recent raid took in Market Place, Tickhill, at 2.50am on Tuesday.

Police officers are urging farmers to step up their security, revealing that on most occasions the plant machinery used in the raids was stolen from farms.

The ATMs were then loaded into other stolen vehicles and driven away, with the forklifts left behind.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Singleton, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Officers from across South Yorkshire and our neighbouring force areas are in regular contact, working together to identify and apprehend those responsible.

“Local residents are being woken up in the early hours by these criminals ripping machines out of walls - this is unacceptable and this group has shown no consideration for the impact of their actions on local businesses and the wider community.

“I’d ask the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police, especially if it involves machinery or forklift type vehicles being driven at unusual times - early in the morning or late at night.

“I want to reassure residents that we are doing everything we can to arrest those involved. If anyone has information about the incidents, please come forward.”

He said officers want to catch those responsible before they strike again.

“We are keeping an open mind as to whether it is one gang or several all using the same modus operandi,” he said.

“On each occasion they have turned up in the early hours, rammed into the ATMs, loaded them into another vehicle and made good their escape - leaving a trail of destruction in terms of the significant damage they are causing, which is affecting businesses.”

He said small shops, petrol stations and banks have all been targeted.

DCI Singleton urged farmers to secure their plant machinery better.

“We have some good lines of inquiry and I am confident we will apprehend those involved, but if we to stop them striking again we need to make it more difficult for them by making the plant machinery they need more difficult to steal.”