An M&M machine remains in critical condition after being held hostage by bandits in the Student Union Building a week ago. The attackers entered through an open window of NMP Café on the ground floor of the building between 11:30pm on Saturday, 20 July and 8:00am the following day, Union officials told Salient.
During the incident, the M&M machine was uprooted from the floor, its money stolen and its crispy milk chocolate contents strewn across a pool table in the café seating area. The pockets of the pool table were blocked by sheets of paper to prevent M&Ms falling into them.
The M&M machine was discovered sobbing, tied to a pole in the café. The bandits left no clues to their identity or purpose.
Student Union Facilities Supervisor Jim Seath suspects that children are the culprits, after chairs were discovered surrounding the pool table, possibly to enable them to reach the table-top.
A friend of the M&M machine, and a fellow snack food provider, told Salient that the M&M machine was deeply traumatised by the events. “I don’t think he’ll be able to work there again. Who would do such a thing? He was only a vending machine. All he wanted from life was to give out sweet treats at extortionate prices.”
“I bet they were after money for P,” he added. The attack follows the kidnap of another M&M machine from the Student Union Building six weeks ago.
Union officials initially thought the vending machine man had collected it, until it emerged that he had not.
It is not yet known if the two incidents are related.
Police investigations were continuing last week.
(Laura McQuillan with reporting by Nicola Kean)