Lean times promised for security van raiders

SECURITY vans carrying large amounts of cash between shops, cash machines and banks in the run-up to Christmas will receive special attention from police in a bid to foil robberies.

Officers said the busy festive period was a high risk time for so-called "cash-in-transit" robberies, when security vans and their on-board staff are targeted.

South Yorkshire Police has run its Follow That Van operation for the last four years, during which time there have been no successful attempts on security vans in the county.

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While police escorts have been planned for certain security vehicles, police officers in patrol cars have been briefed to escort any security vans they come across on their normal duties.

The force said yesterday that crackdown is designed to keep potential criminals "on their toes" and deter them from attacking the vehicles.

Det Constable Nina Kitchener said: "This operation has proved successful in the past and we're hoping it will produce the same result this year.

"South Yorkshire Police is committed to safeguarding people in our county and this includes those working in the security industry.

"We're looking to send a clear message to criminals that if you attempt to commit this type of crime in South Yorkshire you will be caught and prosecuted.

"The public should not be concerned if they see police officers escorting security staff. This is purely a deterrent to criminals and is indicative of South Yorkshire Police's commitment to public safety."

Police are working with the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) on the operation, with the association's staff giving advice.

BSIA police liaison manager, Dick Hanks said: "Cash-in-transit attacks cause injury and trauma to couriers going about their work and put members of the public at risk, so it is extremely important that this crime is targeted."