Many cash machines in Sydney, Australia, were accidentally overpaying customers this week. So if you take money under these circumstances, what is the correct procedure, legally and morally?
For customers of the Commonwealth Bank in Sydney this week, it was "a pure jolly".. "as simple as that". Margaret Sullivan claimed, "It's the bank's mistake pure and simple, but on the basis of that, I've been able to buy five top of the range PCs, fifteen ipads for the whole family and a luxury villa in Magaluf."
But Cuthbert D Cuthbert, a spokesman for the British Bankers' Association, said "These activities cannot be condoned. If an ATM dispenses money that is ours to you in error, you should return it to the branch as soon as possible. Taking money that is not yours is a punishable crime and we will not hesitate in bringing to justice those responsible."
When the news reached the streets that some cash machines were dispensing more money than customers were entitled to, queues began to form and people took advantage.
Charlene Ravene, 26, who doesn't wish to be named, said "Cor, I tell you, I'm gonna be spittin' out cash, till me tits fall to the ground".."My crocodile handbag was made with 125 crocodiles" ..I got Kevin shit loads of Vera Wang"
The bank later explained that a technical failure had prevented the machines from correctly identifying customer accounts, but that all withdrawals were recorded and all thieves would be paraded through the streets wearing signs stating "I stole from bankers and I'm very ashamed."
"Look", says Cuthbert D Cuthbert, "money in the wrong hands could be terrible for our country". In Australia, well, villains are two a penny, but here, it's far more rare. Money, fully available, from ATMs, in our banks, should be left to us, those whose money it is and whose discretion can be counted on. You can't let any old Dick or Harry let loose near our machines, willy nilly. We restrict allocation even to our account holders, but us, you see, we're a special case. If the chairman or even the branch manager's a bit short this week, say down to his last two million, then we say "What's the ATM there for? Help yourself, my good man"
Sources say that it would be unlikely to ever happen again, especially in Britain. Members of the British Bankers Association have safeguarded its own deposits safely under their own beds and mattresses.