Northern Ireland

Neighbours 'helped stop' attempted ATM robbery

Damage to ATM machine
Image caption Repair work has already begun at the site

The owner of a shop in County Tyrone which was targeted by thieves attempting to rip out a cash machine, has praised the effort of neighbours.

It happened at a Spar store in Old Mountfield, near Killyclogher, at about 04:00 GMT on Sunday.

A digger was used to try and dislodge the built-in ATM.

Kieran McGinn told BBC News NI, "our good loyal neighbours saved the day by shouting at the people driving the machinery".

Image caption Significant damage was caused to the ATM during the attempted robbery

Police say they believe the vehicle, which was set on fire after the incident, had been stolen from a nearby building site.

Mr McGinn said he received a call from a friend at about 04:00 GMT on Sunday to say they had seen a "digger thumping the side of the ATM machine".

"Neighbours heard a noise and went out and shouted at the people who were involved," he said.

Image caption Mr McGinn owns the shop which was targeted

"They headed off and got nothing.

"I'm dumbfounded as this is a very built up area, and the ATM here is vital for our community as we're two miles out of Omagh.

"Now we have no ATM machine."

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption A piece of stolen plant machinery was used in the bid to dislodge the ATM

Independent Councillor Josephine Deehan condemned the attack.

"The community is shocked," she said.

Image caption Josephine Deehan is a local councillor for the area

"This shop is a central point for the community and is a bank link for our community as well.

"Thankfully for the quick action of the neighbours the damage could be much worse."

Police have appealed for information about a dark-coloured Volkswagen Passat which travelled towards Cookstown.

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