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Thursday, 16 October 2008

Gangsters from the Heavy Mob from England may be behind an explosion in cash-in-transit robberies that has seen hundreds of thousands of pounds seized

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Gangsters from the Heavy Mob from England may be behind an explosion in cash-in-transit robberies that has seen hundreds of thousands of pounds seized from security guards in the west of Scotland in the past few months.Masked robbers have carried out 17 cash-in-transit "hits" in the Glasgow area this year, with more than £700,000 snatched from security guards delivering money to cash machines at banks, supermarkets and shops.That compares with only five robberies for the whole of last year – and the rise has triggered urgent talks between police, banks and security companies on how to tighten procedures.The group, which has been formed under the auspices of the Scottish Business Crime Centre in Stirling, held its first meeting last month, and is understood to have come up with a range of ideas to make cash-in-transit robberies harder to carry out.Timing of cash deliveries, public awareness, the position of cash machines and specific security measures employed by the security companies will all come under the microscope.Those involved in the talks include senior detectives, representatives from Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS and other banks and building societies, and the British Security Industry Association.
Manchester has seen a massive reduction in cash-in-transit crimes in the last two years after police launched both high- visibility and covert patrols during cash deliveries.That, and the increase in the crime north of the Border, has raised concerns that the gangs are migrating to Scotland.Strathclyde Police has launched Operation Armada, involving a dedicated team of detectives, to catch the robbers. So far, three arrests have been made, although police believe many more people may have been involved in the crimes.In each of the crimes, the robbers waited for the guard to leave the van with the cash. It is understood a number of the cash containers contained red dye "booby traps", which are meant to explode over the notes, identifying them as stolen. However, in some robberies, the mechanism failed to operate.Those held are from the Glasgow area."We are considering the possibility that the crime may have been displaced from Manchester and elsewhere," he said.
Detectives are alarmed at an increase in the use of violence in the most recent attacks, which have involved the use of knives and guns.One theory for the rise in cash-in-transit robberies is that organised crime groups have shifted focus from the traditional "bank job", which improved security has made much more difficult.
Inspector Martin Rutland, of the Scottish Business Crime Centre, said people involved in these crimes were "highly mobile" and "would not think twice about driving a couple of hundred miles to carry out a hit".He said the proliferation of cash machines in the last ten years had made cash-delivering security guards a potentially bigger target. "Cash carriers are now delivering to many more premises. They're going all over the place. That means the risk profile changes," he said.
"The centre's financial crime group has brought interested parties together to discuss what everybody's issues are from a security perspective.

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