DETECTIVES are launching on a Christmas crackdown targeting criminals involved in cash-in-transit and bank machine robberies.
Titan, the region’s regional organised crime unit, will be masterminding the clamp- down for a second year after incidents fell by 66 per cent during last year’s operation.
It comes as detectives continue their search for criminals who threatened two security guards and stole a substantial amount of cash from the Texaco garage in Albert Road, Farnworth, at 10am on Thursday, October 11.
One of the three robbers wielded an iron bar, and they fled the scene in grey Audi Q5, driven by a fourth offender.
All wore dark clothing and balaclavas. The car was later found abandoned in Harrowby Street, Farnworth, and witnesses saw a silver or grey BMW then make off at speed. A week later, at 10am on Thursday, October 18, three armed robbers with machetes and wearing balaclavas threatened security staff who were filling up an ATM at Newbrook service station in Newbrook Road, Over Hulton.
The men stole an empty cash box, and drove off towards Manchester Road in a black Audi S5 convertible.
Detective Inspector Gary Smith said: “These were both brazen robberies in broad daylight and I am keen to hear from anyone who saw what happened in either case.
“We are keeping an open mind but at this stage there is nothing to suggest the two offences we continue to investigate are linked.”
Titan’s campaign, which launches today, will involve high-visibility and covert patrols on the ground and in the air to escort security vehicles as they carry out deliveries.
Other tactics will be used such as CCTV monitoring and cash containers being marked with Smartwater or a dye.
Officers will be working in conjunction with the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), SaferCash and other partner agencies.
Detective Superintendent John Lyons, from Titan, said: “While there has been a drop in the number of cash-in-transit robberies there has been a shift towards criminals targeting cash machines across the region.
“So we will also be concentrating our efforts on ensuring these are secure and those who try to tamper with them are swiftly caught.”
Anyone with information on the robberies should call police on 0161 856 5740 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.