A Ross-shire town facing the closure of its bank suffered a cash crisis at the weekend after three of its ATMs broke down at the same time.
Tain was left almost completely cashless to Saturday shoppers and tourists.
Among the stricken cash machines was the one at the threatened Royal Bank of Scotland branch.
It malfunctioned on the Thursday and, according to the bank, was repaired at some point on Saturday.
The second ATM to break down was the Bank of Scotland which stopped working on Friday due to a technical malfunction and could only be repaired on Monday.
A third ‘hole-in-the-wall’ attached to the Co-op was apparently also out of commission and according to one local man was not described unreliable.
One retired couple made a 48 mile return journey from their home near Altass to Tain on Saturday afternoon in part to get cash from a bank only to leave empty handed.
Brenda Bailey, 79, and her husband, Gordon, 82, who made the trek to and from Tain said: “The cash machines weren’t working and we couldn’t get any cash out.
“Now I am one of those who bank online but we you cannot get money out of a computer. What are tourists on the NC 500 to do?.”
The issue of the bank machine failures was made public by Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant who believes it “raises alarm bells” about the town’s banking provision.
She said: “There was a definite cash shortage in Tain and this would have had a knock-on effect on shoppers and visitors over the weekend.
“The ability to access money is extremely important for the economy of the region.
She added: “People deserve a better service and let’s not forget that with branch closures at villages like Dornoch customers are being redirected to Tain, creating more local demand.”
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP Jamie Stone believes this shows why the RBS branch in the town must remain open.
He said: “People are absolutely helpless when an ATM doesn’t work, you can’t just magic money out of thin air and this goes to prove no matter how clever you cannot replace face to face banking.
“This exactly reinforces the case why this bank should not close these branches, face to face contact with the branch is the difference between torture of mind and peace of mind.”
An RBS spokesperson responded to Mrs Grant: “Sorry for any inconvenience that this fault caused to your constituents in the area.”
The Bank of Scotland spokesman said: “We do regret any inconvenience this caused customers in the local area.”