A police unit set up to tackle the North-west’s most serious criminals is leading a Christmas crackdown on people who attack cash delivery vans.

‘Titan’ is working alongside each of the six police forces in the region as well as the security industry to continue to drive down the number of offences taking place in high streets and shopping centres each year.

While local forces carry out operations to protect cash delivery vans as they deposit and collect cash from banks, Post Offices and ATMs, Titan works with other specialist units from each force to investigate the most prolific and serious offenders.

Earlier this year a gang of five from Merseyside were jailed for 81 years for a series of 31 attacks on ATMs in the North-west and Midlands. And in March three men from Greater Manchester were imprisoned for 19 years for attacking a security guard as he delivered cash to Barclays in Prestwich before escaping on a motorbike.

Elsewhere, in Lancashire, two men were jailed for 18 years for following a security guard into a newsagents in Ribbleton and threatening him with a machete before stealing a substantial amount of cash. In another incident a Blackpool man was sent to prison for 8 years for conspiring to rob a cash van after he was caught following one through Lancaster.

Thanks to these investigations and the operations carried out by the police, along with tight security procedures used by the cash delivery companies, cash in transit robberies have fallen across the region.

In 2009 there were 189 incidents and in 2010 there were 89 compared to 61 between October 2013 and November this year.

But with people and the businesses they shop at getting involved in the big pre-Christmas spend, operations to protect the cash delivery vans and the guards who drive them have been stepped up.

Detective Superintendent Jason Hudson, head of operations at Titan, said: “The men and women who deliver cash securely to local banks and businesses across the North-west do an important job that benefits us all. They are decent, ordinary, hard-working people from every county in our region and they deserve the public’s support and police’s protection. They certainly don’t deserve to be threatened and assaulted by criminals who ambush them as they go out their everyday business.

“That is why Titan is working closely with individual forces in Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire, North Wales and Cumbria and the security industry companies themselves to deter and detect such attacks. The public too can help by reporting any suspicious people or vehicles to their local police force so we can take action.

“Although the number of robberies has fallen significantly compared to four or five years  ago, we recognise that there is more to be done across the region. The people who have been the victims in the 61 incidents that have occurred in the past 12 months have each suffered considerably, either physically, psychologically or both.

“Titan and our colleagues in forces like Merseyside and Greater Manchester where the most offences have occurred have sent groups of organised criminals to prison for significant periods of time but we know that others will be tempted to take their place.

“My message to them is don’t bother. The police routinely follow cash delivery vans in marked cars to deter attacks, use unmarked cars to detect suspicious activity during a delivery and the vans and cash boxes carry a host of security devices such as CCTV and dye that explodes when a cash box is forced open, staining the bank notes and offenders themselves. These dyes are impossible to wash off so render the notes useless and incriminates the offender by staining his skin and clothes. Only last year a gang which included two women were jailed for 61 years after being caught literally red-handed.”

One guard who has been attacked several times during a ten year career and wished to remain anonymous, said: “What the criminals who do this don’t realise or care about is that it’s not a victimless crime. We are real people with families and it’s not just the physical scars that need to heal. After an attack you’re very wary. Everything makes you jump. It has a huge impact on your life.”

Lancashire Constabulary are investigating one of the most recent cash in transit robberies to happen in the region.

Detectives from that force have issued CCTV ( http://youtu.be/H2NKZlvTStw and http://youtu.be/sp2WPpqUMbY) after three men attacked a security guard loading a cash machine inside McColl’s newsagents on Ribbleton Avenue in Preston on October 31st.

The trio were armed with baseball bats and machetes and got away with around £50,000. Officers believe they got into a black Audi S3 driven by an accomplice and drove away. A bright red Nissan GTR Skyline seen at the junction of Ribbleton Avenue and Blackpool Road five minutes after the robbery at 7.20am is also being sought.


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