|North Yorkshire Police is urging owners of high-performance cars to increase security and vigilance as part of an ongoing operation to tackle criminals involved in cash machine thefts.
In recent months, there have been a series of ATM thefts across the county and a region-wide investigation is ongoing to identify and arrest the offenders.
The build-up to these incidents usually involves the theft of a JCB or telehandler heavy plant machinery to forcibly remove the cash machine from the local area, a Transit-type van to transport the ATM away from the scene, and a fast car – often using false number plates – as a get-away vehicle.
Businesses operating heavy plant machinery and vans have been engaged by the police to increase awareness, improve security and encourage suspicious behaviour to be reported.
As a further preventative measure, officers are appealing to local people who own high-powered cars to do everything they can to keep their vehicles safe from organised criminals.
The preferred makes and models tend to be RS and S Audis, AMG Mercedes and M Series BMWs. However, any performance cars could be vulnerable.
Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Wright, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “We are doing everything we can to detect and deter such organised criminal activity.
“While the investigations continue, we are urging people who own high-performance cars to be extra vigilant and take every possible measure to keep their vehicles safe and secure when they are at home, at work or even on service station forecourts.
“It is important to keep keys out of sight, use gates and locks if appropriate and, if another vehicle can be used as a barrier, it all helps to make a theft more difficult. Old fashioned crook locks are also a very good tool in preventing vehicle theft for little money.
“We don’t want to scare people, but there are serious criminals on the look-out for these powerful cars and they will take advantage of any complacency when it comes to vehicle and home security.”
Any suspicious behaviour involving plant machinery and in the vicinity of cash machines should be reported to North Yorkshire Police on 101, option 1, and speak the Force Control Room. If an emergency response is required, always dial 999.
Alternatively, contact Crime stoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Further security advice is available on the North Yorkshire Police websitewww.northyorkshire.police.uk/staying-safe/