Banks hold talks with Interior Minister after another ATM is blown up

For the fifth time in just a few week thieves have blown up an ATM in order to steal its contents. This time incident happened at Seneffe in the Walloon province of Hainaut. The previous four incidents all happened at banks at various locations in Flanders. Representatives of the banking industry federation Febelfin will meet with the officials at the office of Interior Minister Jan Jambon (Flemish nationalist) on Friday afternoon to discuss what measures can be taken to prevent further incidents occurring.  

Thursday’s incident took place at a branch of the ING bank in Seneffe. The Charleroi Judicial Authorities say that it is still unclear what exactly happened. Forensic experts are currently at the scene.  

Earlier this week an ATM was blown up at a post office at Boechout (photo above) in Antwerp province. Similar incidents have taken place at banks in Kinrooi (Limburg), Buggenhout (East Flanders) and Tielt-Winge (Flemish Brabant). In each of the previous incidents gas was used to blow the cash machines up.

Talks on improved security

The banking industry federation Febelfin has said that it will hold talks with the Interior Minister Jan Jambon this afternoon.

Febelfin’s Spokeswoman Isabelle Marchand told VRT News that "It is an absolute priority bring these robberies to a halt”.

Ahead of this afternoon’s meeting, those responsible for security at the banks met this morning to look at what measures they will propose.

Meanwhile, Mr Jambon stresses the importance of the talks.

"We must look at what measures we can take to stop this. We will not be saying what measures we will take as this would be tantamount to giving criminal gangs an instruction book.”

A further meeting of representatives of the banks, the Interior and Justice Ministers and the police and security services will be held next week.