Thieves’ haul of £163,000 from two ATM raids still not recovered

A court has heard over £160,000 which was in two ATM machines ripped out of a wall in a raid on the Asda supermarket in Antrim has not been recovered.

Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 7:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 7:38 pm
The two ATMs were ripped from a wall at an Asda supermarket in Antrim in February

The details emerged at Ballymena Magistrates’ Court where Barry Richard Smyth, 31, of Ballyutoag Road, Nutts Corner, was remanded in custody in connection with a number of offences relating to the Asda incident in February.

He was charged with the theft of cash worth £88,590 from one machine and £74,950 from the other, and he was also charged with stealing the ATM machines worth a total of £32,000.

Smyth is further charged with causing criminal damage to the Asda building and taking a digger and a Mitsubishi L200 vehicle without authority.

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He also faces three counts of arson relating to the Mitsubishi vehicle and the ATMs.

A police officer said she believed she could connect the accused to the charges.

Opposing bail she said in the early hours of February 1 alarms went off at ATMs at Asda where a digger had been used to rip them from a wall.

CCTV showed the ATMs being driven away in a Mitsubishi vehicle which had been stolen from Ballyeaston.

The vehicle and the shells of the ATMs were found burnt out at Tildarg Road near Ballyclare and £163,540 had not been recovered.

The officer alleged a match to Smyth’s DNA was found on the controls of a stolen digger used in the Asda raid.

She objected to bail fearing he could abscond and may obstruct the course of justice.

“Police believe this is part of a larger crime gang,” the officer said.

She said the nature of the destruction of property showed the “mindset” of the defendant.

A defence lawyer said his client denied being involved and told police: “I didn’t do this.”

The lawyer said mixed DNA had been taken from the digger.

Refusing bail, District Judge Nigel Broderick said there was a DNA profile from inside the digger used in the theft and he was concerned there was a risk of offending and a risk of interference in the case.

Smyth was remanded in custody and the case was adjourned to Antrim Magistrates’ Court on May 28.

At the same court a man was remanded in custody after being charged in relation to the theft of an ATM at Nutts Corner earlier this week.

Patrick Close, 21, of Camlin Park, Crumlin, faces five charges linked to the theft of an ATM worth £16,000 containing £59,090.

He is further accused of causing criminal damage to a Costcutters store, theft and arson of a Hitachi digger and aggravated taking and causing damage to a Land Rover.

A police officer said she believed she could connect him to the charges.

A defence solicitor said he had no questions regarding the defendant being connected to the charges and he said no application was being made for bail.

A prosecution lawyer asked for the case to be adjourned for four weeks to await a full file being received from police.

Close was remanded in custody to Antrim Magistrates’ Court on May 28.

A co-accused from Belfast had appeared at the same court on Wednesday in relation to the Nutts Corner raid.