Pub owners are being urged to make sure their premises are as secure as possible by Northamptonshire Police following a series of burglaries in recent weeks.
The call comes after 22 pubs and clubs across the county have been targeted by offenders in the last five weeks.
In each case offenders have broken into the premises before stealing cash from the fruit machine or till before making off.
Detective Inspector Adam Pendlebury said: “We are investigating a series of pub and club burglaries that have taken place in the early hours of the morning, primarily targeting fruit machines but also including tills.
“The burglaries have taken place at premises across the county and mainly in rural locations, where there is little CCTV coverage and fewer potential witnesses to the crime taking place.
“We are doing all we can to find those people responsible for these incidents, including examining CCTV footage, conducting forensic tests and speaking to witnesses whenever possible.
“Earlier this week our crime prevention team met with representatives from Pubwatch to offer advice and support to members of the licensed trade, and I would urge publicans to make sure they follow as many of our crime prevention tips as possible.
“I would also appeal to people who live near pubs and clubs to remain vigilant and please call us if you see anyone acting suspiciously near licensed premises. Call 101 to report any suspicious activity, or 999 if you believe a crime is taking place.”
Crime prevention tips:
• Ensure everyone has left the premises before locking up at night. Check toilets, staff areas etc
• If possible, do not open or lock up alone. Peak times of risk for robberies are early morning when no customers are likely to be present and last thing at night when you are cashing up
• Ensure all windows and doors are locked and intruder alarms set
• If you have CCTV, ensure at least one camera is focussed on gaming machines
• Intruder alarm and/or CCTV cameras should remotely alert manager/DPS when they are activated so police can be called at the earliest opportunity
• Keep as little of your takings on the premises as you can at one time and increase your deposits to the bank, varying the day/times you go to the bank
• Review the security on all entrances and exits
• Gaming machines should be emptied regularly – daily if possible
• Consider purchasing a gaming machine security cabinet to protect your machine