Detectives investigating the spate of ATM thefts across Northern Ireland over recent months have made 19 arrests, charged seven people and recovered £56,000 in cash, according to the PSNI.
But despite some notable successes in the fight against cash machine thefts, the detective leading the team dedicated to investigating the 12 incidents since the start of the year has issued a reminder to the public to remain vigilant.
Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Evans said: “ATM crime is still a priority for the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Since the start of the year there have been 12 incidents resulting in the theft of 15 machines, however we have been absolutely robust in our response, and in recent months we have carried out 52 proactive searches, made 19 arrests and recovered over £56,000 in cash.
"Five men have also been charged in connection with ATM thefts in Fintona, Antrim and Nutt’s Corner while two others were also charged with a range of other offences including theft and possession of criminal property.
"Whilst these figures are certainly encouraging and clearly demonstrate the positive results of the community and police working together, our investigation is by no means over.
"We are not complacent and we continue to focus on doing everything we can to catch those responsible for previous incidents and prevent further thefts. Our Local Policing Team colleagues also continue to conduct targeted patrols, day and night, in areas which could be vulnerable to an attack."
He continued: "ATM theft is not a victimless crime. These attacks cause untold loss and disruption to people and businesses, many of whom are rural and depend on their local ATM provision for access to cash.
"I am grateful to the public for their input and support to date and would encourage communities to remain alert to suspicious activity and to report it to police.
"I would also appeal to anyone who owns or uses heavy plant machinery - please take every possible step to secure and immobilise your machinery. If criminals cannot steal diggers and other similar machinery, they cannot tear out ATMs.
"I would appeal to anyone who has any information which could help us apprehend those responsible to contact detectives on 101. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."