A cash machine (ATM) protection system produced by two UK companies has defeated criminals who tried to blow up an ATM in an explosive gas attack.

The raiders fled empty handed when Gunnebo UK and Safe & Vault Company’s Gas Attack Protection (GP-X) system detected the gas, prevented the explosion and instantly alerted the police.

“Of course, we would rather such a potentially dangerous crime didn’t exist at all, but we are pleased to be able to offer a proven protection against it,” says Gunnebo UK key account manager Steve Lockhart.

“We can show banks and other ATM operators how the system works in our trials, but a real-life success has customers queuing up as soon as the news gets out in the financial marketplace.”

Lockhart says the first GP-X system was installed in December 2014, and thwarted a gas attack in May this year. The latest attempted raid, on a high street bank cash machine, was prevented just over a fortnight ago.

"Once again, there was no collateral damage to the building, the money was untouched and it was business as usual for the customer,” added Lockhart.

ATM gas attacks have been on the increase in Europe for some time. The first UK incident was in 2013 and numbers have been rising steadily since.

Wolverhampton-based Gunnebo UK and Leeds-based Safe & Vault Company joined forces to develop the GP-X solution, which can be retro-fitted or installed at manufacturing stage.

They can’t reveal too much about it works for security reason but the GP-X has multiple gas detection heads, and the system works on a three-phase approach following detection. There is the purge, control and finally supress.

The two companies have also launched the ATM Strongarm, an anchoring system to protect cash machines from ram raiders and digger attacks.

“That product is also attracting a lot of interest, but the GP-X is causing the biggest stir in financial institutions, who want to protect their business, their cash and also their staff and the public from possible explosions,” explains Lockhart.

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