Northampton street ‘too dangerous’ for cashpoint

A cash machine and phone box in Wellingborough Road.
A cash machine and phone box in Wellingborough Road.

A cash machine must be removed from a Northampton street after the police warned it was in too dangerous an area.

British Telecom converted a telephone box in Wellingborough Road, close to Abington Square, into a cashpoint.

But both the police and council officials objected to the move due to the high crime rate in the area.

Their opposition led BT to appeal to national planning inspector, Gwilym Powys Jones, for permission to keep the device.

But he agreed the section of Wellingborough Road was too dangerous for people to withdraw money in the open.

He said: “This is an area that attracts drunken revellers at night and rates of local crime and loutish and anti-social behaviour are among the highest in the town.

“The police concern is potential users of the machine being targeted by miscreants, increasing the risk of crime and disorder in this part of Wellingborough Road.

“Although users of all cash machines are potentially susceptible to crime, the risks are considerably higher in view of the nature of nearby activities at night.”

BT had argued the cash machine would help shopkeepers in the area.

But following Mr Powys Jones’s decision, the council has written to BT to tell them the machine will have to go.

The council’s cabinet member for planning, Councilllor Tim Hadland (Con, Old Duston) said: “We’re contacting the operator to discuss the situation and agree when the machine will be removed.”

The top crimes recorded in the area close to the phonebox by Northamptonshire Police were: Violence, thefts and assaults.

The force said reports of anti-social behaviour in the area peaked between 2pm and 2am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

They said ‘drunken revellers going in and out of town’ were the main reasons for crime.

The force also raised concerns that ‘street drinkers and beggars’ may target the cash machine.