Faulty ATM hands out 'free money'

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 26 2012 10:58 PM | Updated as of Jul 27 2012 06:58 AM

LONDON - Police were called to restore order after a bank ATM in eastern England started dispensing twice the money its customers were asking for.

The Lloyds TSB cash machine in the town of Ipswich began dispensing "free money" to customers on Wednesday after the bank branch had closed for the evening.

As word spread of the glitch, a crowd began to gather, prompting arguments among those trying to use the machine.

Police were called in to keep watch until the bank's staff could take it out of service.

A Lloyds spokesman said the machine had been "misdispensing" cash for only a short time.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused," the spokesman added.

Some 30 people are thought to have benefited from the glitch. It is not clear how much money the bank lost, or if it will be able to recover the funds.

Emma Hutchinson, from Ipswich, told the Ipswich Star: "Word got around pretty quickly. My friend asked for £40 and the machine gave out £80."

Lloyds Banking Group, which sought a massive bailout from the British government during the financial crisis, said Thursday that it had cut interim net losses to £676 million ($1.05 billion, 861 million euros) on the back of restructuring measures.

One Twitter user, @FizzySparkler, commented: "Nice to see one bank is giving back."