Improve ATM security to stop criminal raiders, urges Europol as attacks soar 27pc
THE European Union's police agency has called for concerted action across the continent to tackle attacks by criminal gangs targeting ATMs.
Europol said physical attacks on cash-dispensing machines rose 27pc last year, racking up economic damage of €36m in 21 countries that reported to the European Association for Secure Transactions. There have been a number of raids on ATMs on both sides of the Irish border this year.
The Hague-based Europol urged ATM operators to clamp down on the attacks and suggested leaving less cash in the machines and making it traceable if stolen.
It also wants security improved to make it tougher to break into ATMs and to increase the risks for criminals by improving evidence sharing.
Europol said measures "should be adopted at the European level" to prevent a crackdown in one country driving criminals to more vulnerable countries.
Gardaí have previously pleaded with owners of heavy plant machinery to "please take every possible step to secure your vehicles" following a spate of ATM robberies.
Criminal groups have been stealing diggers and other similar machinery to carry out robberies in Meath, Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, and Monaghan this year.
"If they cannot steal diggers and other similar machinery, they cannot tear out ATMs. This will also mean that these expensive pieces of machinery are not destroyed or burnt out after they are stolen," a garda spokesman said.
"We also appeal to members of the public who see any unusual movement of plant machinery, commercial jeeps, or pickup trucks during night time hours to report such activity immediately to An Garda Síochána.
"Do not assume somebody else has already made the call. You can also contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or Crimestoppers on 1800 250 025."
Additional reporting Press Association