Northern Ireland

PSNI: ATM thefts in Moira and Antrim may be linked

The aftermath of the theft in Moira Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The aftermath of the theft in Moira

The theft of three cash machines in the space of two days may be linked, police believe.

An ATM was taken from a filling station on the Glenavy Road, near Moira, shortly after 03:05 GMT on Saturday morning.

A digger, taken from a nearby building site, was used before being set alight. The roof of the garage was also set on fire.

It followed the theft of two ATMs in Antrim on Friday.

Police said a number of men were reported to be behind the incident in Moira.

"Both the digger and the roof of the garage were extensively damaged," PSNI Det Con Martin he said.

Antrim digger theft

On Friday in Antrim two ATMs were ripped from the side of an Asda supermarket.

A large digger was used to break into the structure housing the cash machines at about 02:00 GMT.

The thieves used two vehicles to take the cash boxes away from the scene in, one of which was a pick-up style vehicle that police believe was stolen earlier.

Officers said the white Mitsubishi L200 is thought to have been stolen in Ballyclare on Thursday night and was found burnt out on Friday morning.

Image copyright PAcemaker

The destroyed vehicle was discovered on Tildarg Road at about 07:20 GMT.

The second getaway vehicle has been described by police as a "dark coloured four-door saloon car".

The Asda store on Ballymena Road opened for business as usual on Friday morning while forensic officers carried out an examination of the scene.

'Disgraceful'

The chief executive of Retail NI, Glyn Roberts, said the robberies were "disgraceful".

"With three ATM robberies in a matter of days, these attacks are now a major problem for local retailers," he said.

"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."

He said Retail NI would be seeking a meeting with the PSNI to press them to establish a taskforce to tackle the issue.

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