Transport for Greater Manchester have released CCTV images after a spate of thefts from Metrolink ticket machines. In the period since January thieves have either broken into or attempted to break into six ticket machines on the Eccles, Airport and Ashton lines with the stops at Salford Quays, Exchange Quay, Sale Water Park, Ashton Moss, Clayton Hall and Martinscroft targeted.
The majority of the thefts have taken place in the early hours of the morning although recent attacks at Clayton Hall and Ashton Moss have place at around 2100. These latest thefts follow on from incidents in December which saw 25 ticket machines broken into with two men now having been charged and due in court in May. There were also further incidents between July 2016 and January 2017 which were linked to similar thefts across the country. In November 2017 two people were jailed for a total of seven years after being convicted of conspiracy to steal.
Danny Vaughan, Head of Metrolink at TfGM, said: “My overriding concern is the impact these thefts are having on our customers, who are being inconvenienced with machines across the network that are either out of operation or unable to accept notes. I’d like to apologise for any inconvenience this is causing them. Clearly these are circumstances outside of our control and we are working hard with our contractor to get all machines back in full working order as quickly as possible. We’re also taking a number of steps to try and prevent further incidents: we are undertaking more surveillance of the network, we are working closely with the police under the TravelSafe Partnership and are investigating what additional security features we might be able to add to the machine itself. Our machines are emptied frequently, carry relatively little cash and are under constant surveillance. Given the strict sentences imposed on past offenders quite frankly the risks far outweigh the opportunities for criminal behaviour.”
Of these latest thefts CCTV footage has now been released with anyone with information urged to contact Greater Manchester Police. As well as extending CCTV surveillance TfGM are also asking people who live close to the Metrolink network to contact the police immediately if they hear or see something unusual at a tramstop.
For those machines which have been affected a number remain either out or use or unable to accept notes. TfGM are working with Scheidt & Bachmann (the contractor responsible for repairing and maintaining the ticket machines) on a programme to fix affected machines as quickly as possible.