Friday, 7 December 2012

Free cash

Just a traffic accident, or a ram-raid attack on a City Road cash kiosk?

So what's gong on here? A smashed kiosk is roped off with police tape, sides leaning drunkenly, wires trailing loose and debris scattered around. People stop and take pictures on their iPhones, speculate about what might have happened and move on. The kiosk has signs proclaiming 'Free' and 'Cash Withdrawals' and the company name, 'Cashzone (Every transaction counts)'. A smaller sticker reads 'Ink Stain System Fitted' and, confusingly, 'No Smoking'. The kiosk itself seems to be a converted telephone booth, perhaps not the most suitable use for such a flimsy structure, but the cash machine is still in there, not working, but not noticeably damaged and presumably still full of ten and twenty pound notes. The machine nestles at a angle among the smashed sides, along with an impressively large electric siren and oddly, a bundle of brightly coloured nylon fabric that might be a tent or some kind of safety wear.

Lying behind the rubbish bin, a completely detached sign misleadingly tells you 'Free Cash'. Maybe free cash was the idea behind this, a ram-raid attempt that failed. Cashzone's website reports a recent ram-raid on a convenience store in Warwickshire but doesn't mention this, so maybe it's just the result of bad driving, a lorry reversing inaccurately or a drunken driver losing control. Either way, a graphic reminder that we're not entirely insulated from the possibility of violence.