Photos of the ATM robbery near Moira portray just how substantial the damage was to this popular filling station.
The Spar store on the Glenavy Road was robbed in the early hours of this morning when a number of men used a digger to remove the ATM.
It was the latest in a spate of ATM thefts and a top businessman has called for an urgent meeting with the PSNI.
Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive of the Retail NI branded the latest ATM theft from a Spar store on the Glenavy Road near Moira as ‘disgraceful’.
Police said a number of men were involved in the theft which used a digger to remove the ATM. The digger was later set on fire and this cause extensive damage to the vehicle and a garage,
Police are also investigating a possible link between this incident and an ATM theft from the Ballymena Road, Antrim on Friday 1st February.
Mr Roberts said: “This is a disgraceful attack on one of our members. It is has caused extensive damage to a local retailer that provides an invaluable service to the local community.
“With three ATM robberies in a matter of days, these attacks are now a major problem for local retailers. Retail NI will be seeking a an urgent meeting with PSNI senior officers to press for a taskforce to be established to tackle these criminal gangs.
“With so many bank branch closures in rural towns and villages in recent years, our members’ ATMs provide an invaluable service to their local communities.
“There is a real danger our members could start to remove these ATMs if these attacks continue.”
Detective Constable Martin said: “Shortly after 3:05am, it was reported that a number of males using a digger removed an ATM machine from a filling station in the area.
“The digger, which is believed to have been taken from a nearby location close to the property was set alight following the incident.
“The roof of the garage was also set alight, as colleagues from Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene and extinguished the fire.
“Both the digger and the roof of the garage were extensively damaged.
“Enquiries are continuing and we are investigating a possible link between this incident and an ATM theft from the Ballymena Road, Antrim on Friday 1st February.”