Licensees in East Anglia have been warned to watch out for organised gangs of fruit machine thieves following a series of attacks in the area.
Local Pubwatch chairman Michael Collins, who is also the licensee of Ipswich's only Irish pub, P J McGinty and Sons, has issued the warning after being hit twice by one of the gangs.
Mr Collins said the thieves work in teams of two or three and there are thought to be about six to eight teams operating in the Ipswich area.
The gangs are understood to use a special mobile phone which is able to pick up the winning code for the machine using an infra-red sensor.
Mr Collins said: "I just want to warn other licensees to be on their guard against this.
"They buy just one cola between the three of them and, when they win a couple of £25 payouts, instead of coming to the bar to change the coins for notes, they run off."
He added that in many cases licensees depended on takings from the machines and could see their business badly hit by the gangs.