POLICE have launched a high-profile clampdown against cash-in-transit robberies in the run-up to Christmas.
The campaign starts just days after a terrifying raid on a security van delivery to the Nationwide Bank in Ashton.
At 7pm last Tuesday a masked gang armed with a shotgun and sledgehammer ambushed the guards and the firearm was used to blast a watching CCTV camera before fleeing with cash.
Today Greater Manchester Police teamed up with officers across the North West and the security industry to launch a joint operation targeting cash-in-transit robberies and theft of ATMs.
The action will be co-ordinated by Titan (North West Regional Organised Crime Unit), the regional collaboration to tackle serious and organised crime groups involved in drug trafficking, firearms, armed robberies, aggravated burglaries and other serious crimes.
Following last year’s campaign, cash-in-transit robberies in December across the region fell by more than 66 per cent compared to December 2010.
This year’s campaign will see officers using both high-visibility and covert patrols on the ground and in the air to escort security vehicles as they carry out their normal deliveries.
A number of other tactics will be used to prevent these robberies, including armed police vehicles escorting high-risk security vehicles as they carry out cash deliveries; overt and covert CCTV monitoring; patrol cars following cash-handling vehicles; plus all cash containers will include either Smartwater or a dye, which will be released when they are opened.
This year’s campaign particularly focuses on reducing the number of incidents targeting ATMs.
Det Supt John Lyons from Titan said: “The region has seen a significant fall in cash-in-transit robberies in recent years but we are not complacent and we are determined to make sure that criminals continue to not see these types of offences as easy ways to make money.
“While there has been a drop in the number of cash-in-transit robberies there has been a shift towards criminals targeting cash machines across the region so we will also be concentrating our efforts on ensuring these are secure and those who try to tamper with them are swiftly caught.
“Our message to those planning on carrying out cash-in-transit robberies or attempting to steal cash machines in the run-up to Christmas is clear – we will find you and we will make sure you spend this Christmas and many more to come behind bars away from your family and loved ones.
“Robberies that target cash-in-transit vehicles, banks, post offices and commercial businesses are often violent offences that can result in life-changing mental and physical scars on those who find themselves confronted by these criminals.”