GAMING MACHINE THEFT – HOW TO AVOID BEING A VICTIM
In recent times, we’ve been made aware of a worrying increase in the number of thefts from gaming machines and we’re encouraging clubs and pubs to be vigilant.
Organised gangs of crooks are specifically targeting gaming machines with a view to stealing cash.
In particular, a gang operating out of the West Midlands is hitting clubs in that region, as well as in northern England – and they are also believed to have targeted a club further south.
The methods of these gangs are not particularly sophisticated. Generally, a gang of three to six people stand round the machine and appear to be using it in the normal way. They simply block the view of the machine from staff whilst the theft is performed. A variation on their tactics will include one member of the gang distracting the bar staff or door staff whilst the theft is occurring.
In many cases, no-one is aware that a robbery has occurred until well after a gang has left the premises, as they take care to act as ordinary customers would, concealing all visible signs of forced entry.
Birmingham area has been a favourite of the machine crooks having strike at numerous clubs in and around Birmingham city centre.
The key to protecting the gaming machines on your premises are based on common sense, but are very effective. A few reminders are below:
- Think carefully about the placement of machines in your premises. While proximity of the machine to the bar does not necessarily deter thieves; active engagement from staff will do. The best way to deter thieves is by ensuring they cannot crowd around your machines, in doing so blocking the view of staff.
- Be vigilant when three or more people appear to be playing a gaming machine. Stand strong! If in any doubt about their intentions, simply ask that they play any paid for games and then switch the machine off until they have moved on.
Consider installing CCTV or altering existing cameras to cover your gaming machines. If you do have CCTV systems in your premises then try to ensure the machines are actively monitored. Be aware that thieves will try and work out where cameras are, and will attempt to block the view of any recording of their activities.
Your local police force will offer guidance and support on wider crime prevention initiatives and other initiatives such as the National Pubwatch campaign (www.nationalpubwatch.org.uk) are also useful sources of information for licensed premises including clubs.
Also speak with your fruit machine supplier about extra security on the machine including an alarm, so if the thieves open the machine your bar staff will be aware. For more information about fruit machine hire in Birmingham or the Midlands area please contact us.