Irate customer vandalises cash machine

A FRUSTRATED bank customer vandalised a cash machine with a cigarette lighter because it swallowed his card. Michael Thomas had gone to the Halifax cash point in Ripple Road, Barking, to withdraw his wages just after midnight on January 16. His card was s

A FRUSTRATED bank customer vandalised a cash machine with a cigarette lighter because it swallowed his card.

Michael Thomas had gone to the Halifax cash point in Ripple Road, Barking, to withdraw his wages just after midnight on January 16.

His card was swallowed but was still visible in the slot, so he set about trying to get it out.

Two police officers came up to him and asked him what he was doing. Marcia Evans, prosecuting, said: "When they arrived they saw the defendant tampering with the machine.

"He was asked what he was doing and he replied the machine had swallowed his card and he was trying to get it back.

"He was asked if he had caused the damage to the card slot. He replied he had melted the plastic and was using his key to get the card back."

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Thomas, 40, of Whiting Avenue, Barking, pleaded guilty to criminal damage. In mitigation he said he was worried a thief had put an implement in the machine to try and steal his card.

Magistrates ordered him to pay �200 compensation, a �166 fine, �70 costs and a �15 victims' surcharge.