By in Plant News

Gangs targeting telehandlers to steal cash machines

Criminal gangs are stealing powerful farm vehicles and using them to rip cash machines out of walls.

Officers in Devon have warned farmers to review security arrangements after thieves took a Merlo telehandler from a farm in South Hams to steal a cash machine from a filling station in Totnes. They managed to get away with the machine and partly demolished the petrol station in the process, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

The offenders made off with thousands of pounds and caused serious damage.

Then on Thursday (25 August), thieves attempted to steal a second Merlo, from a farm near Kingsbridge. But the men were disturbed and fled the scene.

Devon and Cornwall Police said in a statement: “Police across South Hams wish to raise awareness regarding the possible theft and subsequent use of farming and agricultural vehicles in the targeting of cash machines, particularly at petrol stations during the night.”

In a direct appeal to farmers, officers said: “Please help spread the word and make sure efforts are made to better secure farming/building site machinery in order that these vehicles aren’t used to commit further crime.”

Incidents nationwide

Police forces in Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire have also reported similar incidents of late.

On 3 August, a gang used a telehandler to remove a cash machine so they could rip an ATM from a wall of a Nisa supermarket in Hatton, Derbyshire.

Last month, thieves stole a Bobcat Telemaster and used it to tear a cash machine from the wall of a Nationwide Bank branch in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, causing extensive damage to the building.

They then loaded the cash machine on a pick-up truck and fled the scene.

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