Police team to tackle NI ATM thefts

The PSNI says it has put together a team of detectives to investigate ATM thefts after a recent “upsurge” in the number of them having been ripped from the walls of shops.

Monday, 11th March 2019, 7:37 pm
Updated Monday, 11th March 2019, 8:45 pm
The scene at a filling station on the Ballygawley Road, Dungannon, where thieves used a stolen digger to rip a cash machine from a wall, causing "substantial damage to the building". Picture by Ann McManus

There have been a series of such thefts in recent months, with the most recent happening at a filling station on the Ballygawley Road in Dungannon, County Tyrone early on Sunday morning.

Detective Inspector Richard Thornton said: “Recently there has been an upsurge in the number of ATM machines ripped from the walls of commercial premises using plant machinery which, more often than not, has been stolen from a nearby farm or building site and then destroyed after each incident.

“The attacks tend to occur more frequently, but not exclusively, in rural areas, and are a serious cause for concern for us all.”

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He said there have been seven such attacks in the past four months.

“That is seven communities suffering due to the greed of unscrupulous criminals,” Detective Inspector said.

“The idea that ATM thefts are a victimless crime should be completely discounted as these attacks cause untold loss and disruption to individuals, businesses and whole communities, in terms of the loss of very expensive machinery, delays in production, damage to the local economy and the likelihood of criminal finances being redirected back into funding further organised crime or terrorism.”