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News release from: 12/03/2024

Council agrees funding to protect cash machines

Council agrees funding to protect cash machines

Up to £100,000 has been allocated to better protect some of South Cambridgeshire’s cash machines from ram-raids.

The District Council’s Cabinet met this morning (Tuesday 12 March) and agreed to install heavy-duty planters in-front of some cash machines – starting with the ATM at the Co-op in School Lane, Cambourne.

There is support from the Co-op, landowners, and Cambourne Town Council for the installation at the School Lane site. Research into which other cash machines could also benefit from increased protection is continuing – and Town / Parish Councils will be closely involved in that process. Not all cash machine locations will be suitable for the planters due to the available space around them, land ownership or business preference.

The funding for the initiative is coming from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority – which secured it from the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF).

Cabinet members heard how several attacks on cash machines have occurred in South Cambridgeshire since summer 2023 - and others have occurred in neighbouring districts recently. Police are keen to reduce the vulnerability of ATMs in rural areas and to prevent, or at least hinder, attempts by thieves to cause damage and inconvenience to the affected communities.

Many cash machines that are attacked get lifted out by a telehandler – a heavy-duty forklift, widely used in farming – after a building is rammed by a vehicle. A heavy-duty planter would at least delay, if not prevent, the damage and theft.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Bill Handley, 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.”

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said: “Ram-raids on cash machines can be distressing for communities and often disproportionately impact the most vulnerable in our communities. I am delighted that through strong collaboration across a range of partner organisations we have been able to utilise Shared Prosperity Fund money to take steps to better protect cash machines. I hope the steps being taken give confidence and reassure to those communities impacted by previous ram-raids.”

Detective Chief Inspector Chris O’Brien from Cambridgeshire Police said: “This joint initiative is incredibly positive and highlights partner agencies working together to protect our communities. 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.”

The funding criteria for the SPF requires an improvement to the High Street. This project creates an obstacle to ATM theft – as well as improvements to the visual appearance of a High Street – along with a community project for the ongoing maintenance of the planters.

There are ways that the public can help police anticipate and stop ATM cash machines being ram-raided. You can:

  • install trackers on high-performance cars and heavy vehicles, such as Transits and flat beds, which could be used in a ram-raid.
  • raise concerns if anything doesn’t feel quite right, such as plant vehicles travelling during the hours of darkness, or that are not usually in the area and appear to have been left parked for a few days.
  • consider installing video doorbells or CCTV on your home, which could capture something vital.
  • report anything suspicious, including anyone taking photos or attaching ‘out of order’ signs to ATM machines.

If you have any information or concerns, report to Police online or call 101, quoting Op ATMosphere.

Always call 999 in an emergency.

For more information on joining an ATM Watch scheme, visit