Detective Sergeant Stephen Gardiner said: “Shortly after 1am police received a report of a loud bang in the area and suspicious activity close to an ATM in the Ballysillan Road area of the city.
“Officers attended and discovered a detonated suspect device close to the ATM, which has received extensive damage due to the explosion. ATO were tasked and attended. The device was made safe and removed for further examination.
“One man was seen leaving the area on foot shortly after the explosion, and he is described as approximately 5”10 in height, of medium build and dressed in dark clothing.
“The Ballysillan Road, which had been closed during the incident, has now re-opened.”
Police are appealing to anyone who may have seen the suspect or who has information in relation to this incident to contact them. They are particularly keen to hear from anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the Ballysillan area, prior to and after this incident. Detectives in Belfast can be contacted on the 101 non-emergency number, by quoting 58 01/03/22.
A report can also be made online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/
A PSNI alert said that the ‘Ballysillan Road is currently closed between Silverstream Gardens and Oldpark Road due to an ongoing incident’.
Earlier today motorists and pedestrians were advised to avoid the Ballysillan Road area and seek alternative routes.
And on Twitter, Translink posted: “#MET #11A #12C ❗ Ballysillan Road is closed between Oldpark Road and Bilston Road . ℹ️ Metro 11A will operate via Upper Crumlin Road to Ballysillan Park, Metro 12Cs will operate via Crumlin Road, Alliance Avenue to Cliftonville Road.”
Local DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst issued a Tweet where he claims a ‘small explosion’ in the area overnight is being linked to an attempted ATM theft.
He posted: “It is their (PSNI) understanding that there was an attempted ATM theft on the Ballysillan Road which resulted in an explosion.
“Those responsible then made off towards Ballysillan Playing fields.
“It happened around 1.30am this morning.
“If anyone has information regarding this disgraceful robbery attempt, please ensure that you contact the PSNI.”
SDLP North Belfast Nichola Mallon MLA has said the attempted theft of an ATM on the Ballysillan road has shocked and concerned local residents.
She said: “This worrying incident has shocked the local community around the Ballysillan road this morning. There is no place for this kind of behaviour in our local community and we are very fortunate that no one was injured.
“I would like to commend the police for their swift intervention and I would encourage anyone with any information to come forward and assist them in their enquiries.”
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