Customers cash in on 'double your money' ATM

Customers cash in on 'double your money' ATM

Hundreds of people flocked to a faulty Payzone ATM in the UK city of Hull last week after it started dispensing twice the amount of cash keyed in for withdrawals.

Word about the fault quickly spread and hundreds of people queued up at the cash machine, which is located outside a Sainsbury's store in Barham Road, Hull, last Tuesday to take advantage of the error.

According to press reports, police officers were eventually called in to the guard the cash machine and stop people attempting to withdraw money.

It is not known how much cash was withdrawn from the machine although some reports state that after several hours, the ATM ran out of money.

A Payzone spokesman told the BBC the fault was due to the machine being filled with the wrong denomination of notes by a cash in transit company contracted to service the ATM.

In a statement on its Web site, Payzone says: "An ATM in the Hull area has been paying customers incorrectly. Payzone has only identified one ATM from its former Cardpoint estate that has these problems. The machine in question is no longer in service. The company is investigating the situation."

A spokeswoman for Humberside Police told the BBC that if Payzone makes a complaint, people who benefited from the error could be traced and charged with theft.

However they are unlikely to face a sentence as strict as the one handed down to Xu Ting, a 25 year old from China who was given a life sentence last year for taking funds from a faulty cash machine which deducted just Yn1 from his account for every Yn1000 withdrawn from the ATM.

According to local press reports, Xu Ting, 25, withdrew nearly Yn175,000 - around US$24,000 - in 171 transactions from a malfunctioning ATM located in Guangzhou in May 2005.

Under the country's criminal law, people who steal more than Yn100,000 from a bank face a life sentence or the death penalty.

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