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Could Bury St Edmunds be the UK hot spot for ATM crime?

PUBLISHED: 13:18 22 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:28 24 August 2018

The surprising claim that Bury St Edmunds could be the most dangerous place in the UK to withdraw cash has been slammed.

The town came out top in terms of the number of thefts and robberies near ATMs relative to population figures, with one in every 415 residents suffering at the hands of thieves in the last decade, according to research by MoneySuperMarket.

However, Suffolk police said it appeared the request for information regarding ATM thefts was misinterpreted.

They said: “It would appear the request for information we received from MoneySuperMarket regarding ATM thefts was misinterpreted and as a consequence we believe the figures which were sent out in reply are incorrect.

“We are now looking at the request again to ensure the figures we provide are correct and in line with what has been asked for.”

And Mark Cordell, chief executive of town centre business group Ourburystedmunds, described the claim as “absolutely laughable”.

“I cannot recall it ever being an issue,” said the former Suffolk police Chief Superintendent. “You only have to look down that hot list and where you expect some cities to be included Nottingham is the only city.”

The data from police forces across the UK, spanning as far back as 2007, was obtained through the use of Freedom of Information powers by the price comparison website.

But Mr Cordell picked out holes in the research, including the fact that not all police forces had responded and that they categorise such crimes in different ways.

In the results Newmarket ranked fourth (one in 551) and Ipswich and Lowestoft sixth and seventh respectively (one in 623 and one in 658) for the number of thefts and robberies near ATMs per resident.

This compares with large cities such as Leeds (one in 5,143), Birmingham (one in 5,459) and London (one in 6,340).

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Cash is still king as far as many criminals are concerned, and ATMs are their ideal hunting ground.

“This police data highlights the importance of being vigilant and cautious when using an ATM, even in a quiet market town where you might not expect to encounter a problem.”

Looking closer at Suffolk, Ipswich was top for number of thefts with 218, followed by Lowestoft with 108 and Bury St Edmunds with 98.

The figures do come with a number of caveats as MoneySuperMarket highlighted it was unable to obtain data from some police forces and areas, such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Sheffield and Bristol.

Also, some constabularies do not use location tags so it was not possible to link a theft/robbery with an ATM, for example Essex.

For more information about the research click here.

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