Northern Ireland

'Stolen diggers' used in cash machine raids in Crumlin and Craigavon

Two cash machines were stolen in Crumlin, County Antrim, and a digger was set alight Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Two cash machines were stolen in Crumlin, County Antrim, and a digger was set alight

Two cash machines have been stolen in County Antrim and there has been an attempted robbery of another in County Armagh.

The first incident happened at about 02:30 BST on Friday at a Tesco shop on Main Street, Crumlin, police said.

Two machines were ripped from the wall by a digger and placed into a pick-up truck. The digger was set alight before at least three men made off.

The unsuccessful attempt was at a Costcutter in Craigavon.

Police said it happened shortly before 03:45 BST at Drumgor shops.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption There was an attempted robbery of a cash machine at a Costcutter at Drumgor shops in Craigavon

They said "the criminals were unsuccessful in their attempt and ran off from the scene, leaving the ATM and telehandler behind".

"They have now been recovered and examinations are being carried out," Det Chief Supt Darren Evans added.

'Devastation'

"The ATM attack in Crumlin was the tenth this year and I understand the concern of the public and the business community.

"Both this attack and the attempted theft in Craigavon have caused devastation and fear within the local communities."

The PSNI have appealed for information about the incidents, which they do not believe are linked, and said stolen diggers "were used in both attacks".

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Media captionA digger was set alight during the incident in Crumlin. Footage courtesy of Jordan Mayes.

Last month, the PSNI announced the creation of a new team of detectives to investigate cash machine thefts, following an upsurge in the number of built-in cash machines being ripped from the walls of commercial properties by plant machinery.

Mr Evans said he wanted "to reassure the public that we continue to do everything that we can to stop these attacks and catch those responsible".

"However, the reality is that these attacks are carried out in a range of geographical areas and we cannot monitor every ATM, all of the time," he added.

"We need the public to help us.

"Whilst we do not think these incidents are linked, stolen diggers were used in both attacks.

"This shows the importance of owners of heavy plant machinery ensuring that they do everything possible to secure and immobilise equipment.

"If the diggers cannot be stolen, these attacks cannot take place."

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Police said the incident at Crumlin happened at about 02:30 BST on Friday

Elsewhere, in the Republic of Ireland, two cash machines containing substantial sums of money were stolen in Kells, in County Meath, in the early hours of Friday morning.

The machines were ripped from the walls of both the Bank of Ireland and an Allied Irish Bank on John Street just after 04:00 local time.

Both buildings have been badly damaged.

Irish broadcaster RTÉ said those involved in the incidents left the scene in two vehicles, leaving behind an excavator which was stolen in County Meath and a tractor and trailer, believed to have been stolen in County Louth overnight.

Gardaí (Irish police) also confirmed that homemade spikes were placed outside Kells Garda Station, but that this did not affect their response time, and they arrived at the scene "within minutes" of being alerted to the thefts.

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