I’ve often thought that, if they can go to the moon, then surely they can marry up services like ATMs and telephone top-ups. Nick Mahony wondered about it too and urged me to find out.

Turns out that such machines are being trialled by Card Point. Matthew Howarth, sales support manager, told me: “Retailers involved in the trial say it takes the strain off the till at busy times.”

SecureSafe does one too via a self-fill TRM machine and I believe Lloyds Bank also has a version.

However, Nick’s looking to locate the machine outside the store, owing to a bungled but very damaging ram raid a few years ago. Back then Nick had a Moneybox ATM. He also had his in-laws living over the premises – Star Stores in Bournemouth.

The thieves came at night with a 4x4 and bashed through the front, lassoing the ATM with a hoist strap from a crane. “The in-laws were very game,” says Nick. “Father-in-law threw an electric heater out of the window and beaned one of them.”

The crooks then bundled the machine into the back of an estate car and drove off with the straps trailing out of the back. The 4x4, travelling behind, got the trailing straps tangled in its axle which hoiked the ATM onto the road. The 4x4 then ran into the ATM and theives fled. Understandably, Nick decided not to replace the machine, and the in-laws are still there, above the shop. And so, this time around, Nick’s looking for an external solution. It remains to be seen if he finds one. Watch this space.