Lockpoint beats the cashpoint-busters

Operations Director Colin Doyle demonstrates a Gryphon security device at Lockpoint’s North Shields headquarters. Also pictured, Gemma Carne, customer support.
Operations Director Colin Doyle demonstrates a Gryphon security device at Lockpoint’s North Shields headquarters. Also pictured, Gemma Carne, customer support.

A UK company is helping to win the war against the dangerous men who target the country’s thousands of cash machines.

Lockpoint’s sophisticated Gryphon ATM-protection system has helped to achieve a dramatic reduction in armed robberies and is currently proving its worth as criminals turn to new methods of robbing the machines, including using explosives.

Although primarily designed to make ATMs an unattractive target for raids by armed gangs, Lockpoint notes that in the three recent explosive attacks on ATMs across the UK, just one machine was fitted with the Gryphon — and that was the only machine that was not destroyed and from which no cash was consequently taken.

The success of the Gryphon has helped Lockpoint record a dramatic rise in turnover and operating profit in provisional figures for the financial year just ended. Turnover has almost doubled, from £1.2 million to £2.34 million, while profit before interest, tax and exceptional items is expected to be in the region of £0.5 million.

Lockpoint developed the Gryphon at its base in North Shields, near Newcastle, and it is now fitted to a significant proportion of all cash points across the UK, with major banks and cash machine manufacturers among customers and end-users.

The device comprises a set of four interlocking steel doors connected by a sophisticated electronic locking system that ensures that no more than one door – accessing one of four cash drawers — can ever be open at the same time. This “wall of steel” can be retro-fitted to any ATM without compromising the manufacturer’s integrity, at a unit cost of about £2,000.

The Gryphon is manufactured entirely in North East England, with Gateshead-based Responsive Engineering Ltd responsible for the manufacture and assembly, and contract manufacturer Opsol UK building the electronic circuitry in Cramlington, Northumberland.

Among the first clients to choose the Gryphon in the UK has been Tesco, which, since 2010, has installed the device on a majority of its 3,000 ATMs at stores nationwide. The supermarket giant had been motivated by concern at the growth in attacks on cash-in-transit providers, which also put its own staff and customers at risk.

The industry journal, Professional Security magazine, noted that, in the first year of the Gryphon’s operation, attacks on Tesco ATMs fell by 64 per cent; its cash losses dropped by 90 per cent; and those of the cash-in-transit company, G4S, fell by 92 per cent. Injuries to G4S staff were also down 83 per cent.

Tim White, Tesco Head of Security, said: “I am particularly pleased with the dramatic reduction in injuries to cash-in-transit staff, together with the significant reductions in both attacks and financial losses.”

He added: “The collaboration between Tesco, G4S and Lockpoint is evidence of both innovation and true partnership.”

All told, in the calendar year 2012, Lockpoint sold nearly 1,200 Gryphons, worth more than £2 million, and Operations Director Colin Doyle predicts further growth in 2013 as the company weighs up opportunities in overseas markets.

“Although our Gryphon has proved its worth over the past three years by preventing losses and reducing danger for both security professionals and members of the public, we estimate that about 80 per cent of all the nation’s ATMs are still unprotected by the Gryphon, which is the only device that makes ATM robbery so difficult that it is increasingly less attractive to robbers.

“Our product resists attacks by drills, grinders and oxyacetylene torches and there is now evidence that it can also withstand attacks by gangs using explosives.”

Lockpoint is now in talks with one of its customers to explore a joint venture to put the Gryphon through an expensive testing programme to determine precisely how well it will defend cash from robbers armed with explosives.

The company is also experiencing increasing interest in its second major product, the Wyvern, an automated employee-operated centralised door locking system for banks and high-value shops, such as mobile phone outlets and jewellers.

Lockpoint website