Two men have appeared in court accused of stealing cash from a string of ATMs across Northern Ireland.
The two Romanians, both of whose addresses were given as Laurel Court, Dublin, face charges relating to what police believe was a spree of thefts from holes-in-the-wall.
Marian Ciobancia, 32, and Vasile Orbisor, 27, face 44 charges each.
They appeared at Newry Magistrates’ Court yesterday, speaking via a translator to confirm their identities and that they understood the charges – including theft, criminal damage, and possessing articles connected with fraud.
The thefts were said to have taken place late last month, and the locations of the various machines – which belonged to different banks – ranged from south Belfast down to Banbridge and a filling station in Newry.
Following a break early on in yesterday’s hearing, the case later reconvened with lawyer Conleth Downey telling the court that he was no longer representing the defendants.
The two accused, both clad in navy T-shirts, said via the interpreter they would be representing themselves instead.
District judge PG Copeland said that he was not there to try them or to determine guilt, but rather to determine whether a “substantial and credible case” existed to be heard.
A detective was brought forward and he spoke about how the alleged thefts had taken place.
The court was told they occurred by inserting a credit card allegedly belonging to Ciobancia into the ATMs, and then requesting cash withdrawals.
When the dispensing drawer opened, it allowed a device to be inserted which “caught” money belonging to others, which could be collected later.
The detective also told the hearing that the pair had been recorded on CCTV.
The incidents are said to have occurred between Saturday, October 26 and Friday, November 1.
The judge said he was satisfied there was a basis for the charges and did not grant bail, ordering the pair to appear by video-link tomorrow.