A Caterham resident had £500 stolen in a distraction robbery at the Lloyds Bank ATM on Station Avenue.
Mr Peters* was withdrawing cash at 4.45pm on Wednesday 5 May, when a large man approached him, put his arm across the keypad and told him in an aggressive manner that the machine was not working. When Mr Peters challenged him, the man pushed him away, and a second man stepped in behind the first to withdraw the money from his account. They grabbed the notes and both ran to the nearby station.
Mr Peters soon realised why the man had covered the keypad:
“It was to ensure I couldn’t press the ‘cancel’ button, which allowed the other man full access to my account once I was out the way.”
A friend of Mr Peters, who had been nearby, called the police. When Mr Peters later spoke to staff at Caterham Station he was informed three men had run into the station. Two had boarded a departing train, while the other remained on the platform, where he was arrested.
Lloyds reimbursed Mr Peter’s money the next day. However, he was disappointed to learn the cashpoint had no camera covering it, meaning`no images of the offenders were captured. He also queried whether having an ATM inside the branch would make people feel safer during opening hours.
We tried to contact Lloyds Bank to find out why there are no cameras outside their Caterham branch, but were unable to speak to anybody. Tandridge Beat have also been contacted.
If you are using an ATM:
• Be vigilant: check who is around you. Do not use it if you do not feel safe.
• If you feel suspicious while using it, press cancel immediately and remove your card. Call the police if appropriate.
(*Name changed at interviewee's request)