Police have issued advice to local residents following a number of thefts at ATM machines in Milton Keynes in November.

A number of reports of thefts at ATMs across Milton Keynes have been reported to police over the last month.

Offenders have been targeting vulnerable individuals and are either using distraction techniques or forcing victims out of the way once they have entered their PIN.

Among the offences logged by police that have taken place include examples of this theft at cashpoints outside banks and supermarkets, and hundreds of pounds in cash has been stolen from victims.

Detective Inspector James Horseman, based at Milton Keynes Police Station, said, “This is a concerning crime series and we are working closely with banks, supermarkets and neighbouring police forces to prevent further offences from taking place and to catch these offenders in the act. Whilst our investigation progresses, I would like to share some advice to help us all avoid falling victim to these criminals and I ask you to share this advice with family, friends and neighbours.

“Before you use an ATM machine, be aware of anyone standing close by. Try to be alert and aware of anyone near you when you are at an ATM. Being aware of your surroundings and not being distracted makes it harder for people to take advantage.

“Additionally we would advise you always check the machine to see if it has been tampered with before you use it. If it doesn’t look right or feel right, then do not proceed with your withdrawal.

“As we have seen in these incidents, thieves may watch as you key in your PIN or distract you while you are withdrawing cash. Be vigilant. Cover your PIN and keep an eye on your card at all times. If someone taps you on the shoulder, or tries to speak to you, just ignore them.

 “If you believe you can see a theft taking place, always call the police on 999. If you have any information that could assist with our investigation, you can get in touch by calling 101 or using our online reporting form, quoting Operation Dividend.”

If you would like to find out more information about how to keep yourself safe from ATM theft, you can visit the Thames Valley Police website and the relevant webpage on protecting yourself from ATM theft.