ARMED police have been in Barnsley this week accompanying cash collection vans to prevent them from being robbed.

Many locals have spotted police escorts with post office money vans and armed police even escorting security officers into banks as part of a borough-wide crackdown on crime.

It is part of a month-long operation to deter criminals who might be tempted by the bumper cash hauls from banks, post offices, supermarkets, betting shops and garages in the run up to Christmas .

All through December, armed police vehicles will be escorting high-risk vans on deliveries, CCTV is being monitored and the helicopter SY99 will be shadowing collections and deliveries from the air.

Detective Constable Ron Day said: “The public should not be concerned if they see police officers escorting security staff. This operation is a deterrent to criminals and indicative of our commitment to public safety.

“Officers have interviewed criminals, who are in prison for this type of offence, to obtain an insight into their methods and tactics, utilising this in the fight against this type of crime."

Steve Hurst, Head of Safercash, added: "Cash-in-transit attacks remain a major problem across the UK and working with forces such as South Yorkshire we are determined to reduce this threat and to make the cash-handling industry as secure as possible.

"CITrobberies cause injury and trauma to couriers just going about their work and also put members of the public at risk so it is extremely important that this crime is combated."