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ATM attacks foiled

The Tyneside-based company LOCKPOINT reports that its Gryphon product held firm against two recent attacks on cash machines in the Home Counties and the Midlands. No cash was stolen. Lockpoint says its philosophy is that it is only by protecting the cash that banks can prevent criminals from putting lives at risk.

The firm points to a rise in attacks on ATMs across the country, with the issue raised by MPs on both sides of the House of Commons. Lockpoint is meeting Alan Campbell MP, Labour’s Deputy Chief Whip and a former member of the Commons Policing and Crime Bill Committee. Mr Campbell tabled four Written Questions to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd late last year, asking what discussions her department had had with police and the banking and security industry on the attacks on ATMs, particularly in the Greater Manchester, East Midlands and Bristol areas.

He also asked what discussions had taken place with the industry on the development of new technologies, including the Gryphon, as a defence against gas and other types of attack – and he specifically asked if the Home Department would make an assessment of the Gryphon as a means of defence.

Ben Wallace, Minister for Security at the Home Office, replied: “We keep all crime threats under review, and work with the police and other partners to determine whether there is more to be done to address specific threats. We have not had any recent discussions specifically about criminal attacks on ATM cash machines, but we will look carefully at recent trends as part of our ongoing work with the police and relevant industry leads to tackle new and emerging crime threats.”

Lockpoint says it’s working with its industry partners as gas explosions and ram raids now exceed one a day. In gas attacks, criminals inject gas into the ATM with the aim of blowing off the safe doors so they can access the cash inside. But the resulting explosion can cause damage and potentially threaten life. One recent explosion, in Darlington, could be heard miles away.

Lockpoint Chief Executive, Bill Price, pictured, said: “All our clients invest resources in their ATM estates on the basis of the best intelligence available on the level of different threats. Our partners are particularly mindful of the specific threat from gas attacks and we are helping them to respond accordingly.”

In the two recent attacks on ATMs to which the Gryphon was fitted, the safe door was blown off in both cases, but the Gryphon’s toughened steel interlocking doors held firm, keeping the four cash cassettes inside intact.

Responding to the Home Office’s written responses to his questions, Mr Campbell, MP for Tynemouth, said: “I have noted with increasing concern the apparent rise in attacks on ATMs with both heavy machinery and explosive gas. The latter trend is particularly worrying as it may be only a matter of time before someone comes to significant harm.

“For this reason I tabled a number of Parliamentary written questions on this subject to the Secretary of State for the Home Department and am encouraged to learn that ATM attacks may come on the agenda in discussions with the police in due course. However, I would urge in the strongest possible terms that this be addressed sooner rather than later and that an appraisal of devices, such as the Lockpoint Gryphon, that are designed toy thwart criminals attacks, should form part of this process.”

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 inject acetylene or other gas into cash machines and blow them up.

The Gryphon range was first developed with Lockpoint’s engineering and electronics partners to counter the threat to cash-in-transit couriers who can be ambushed when they arrive 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 design of the doors means it is also difficult to break into an ATM, even if a gang rips it out and takes it away with a JCB.

Lockpoint, based at Cobalt Business Park, North Shields, began development of the latest Gryphon variants when it became clear that it could also protect an ATM against explosive attack with modifications. The company teamed up with explosion research company, Gexcon, to prove the product’s resilience in both laboratory and in front of invited industry audience, in the field.


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