After a spate of ram-raids across Leicestershire, Staffordshire and now Derbyshire, Co-op food store bosses have teamed up with a forensic technology company to deter criminals from carrying out such raids.
The popular food store chain has teamed up with award-winning company SmartWater in a bid to tackle such cash machine thefts. SmartWater works by dispersing an invisible gel when an ATM is attacked, marking the stolen cash and criminals who handle the cash. The gel is invisible to the naked eye, but glows yellow under UV light.
When the new scheme was piloted at more than 300 locations in 2016, ATM crime saw a reduction of more than 90 per cent, said a Co-op spokesman. After the success, the chain will now be rolled it out to all Co-op food stores across the country.
The new initiative comes after a raid at a Co-op store in Kings Bromley yesterday , August 2, when a masked gang used a JCB digger to smash into the side of a store in an unsuccessful bid to steal and ATM machine. A large amount of damage was caused and the store was closed yetserday.
Last month, another digger was used to smash into the side of a Nationwide bank in Ashby and steal a cash machine from inside.
Chris Whitfield, from the Co-op said: "ATM crime impacts customers and communities - it can also have a disproportionate impact on rural police force areas where cash dispensers are more of a lifeline for residents and the local economy.
"At the forefront of combating ATM crime this proven technology utilises the latest ATM security capabilities and innovations to cut crime, providing a safer and secure way to deliver a key and convenient service in local communities."
Designed by a former police officer and his brother, the unique forensic signatures at each ATM increases the risk to criminals of being tracked and traced by police following a theft, leading to conviction. The forensic signature is guaranteed to last on notes and clothes for five years.
Phil Cleary, chief executive and co-founder of SmartWater, said: "This technical development represents a serious upgrade in the security of ATM's as SmartWater products have helped convict hundreds of criminals world-wide and retains a 100 per cent track record in court.
"Simply, the ATM's protected by SmartWater now represent too high a risk for criminals and the more professional will give them a wide berth."