Threat of more cash machine thefts 'very real', police warn
The PSNI has warned there is a "very real" threat of more cash machine thefts across Northern Ireland.
Det Supt Rachel Shields said police were not complacent about the risk posed by several gangs behind a spate of overnight robberies.
Two people were arrested on Tuesday after police foiled a bid to steal a cash machine at Nutt's Corner in County Antrim at about 03:30 BST.
It was the 14th incident of its kind in Northern Ireland since 1 January 2019.
Police have confirmed "considerable policing resources" were directed to the scene after they received a report that a digger was being used to rip the cash machine from a service station at Tully Road.
The machine was recovered.
Det Supt Shields said: "We recognise there are a number of gangs carrying out these attacks on ATMs and the threat of more thefts is very real.
"Tonight again we will have local police patrolling areas which could be vulnerable to an attack and detectives remain dedicated to investigating the thefts that have taken place. This remains a key priority for police".
Det Supt Shields also asked the owners of heavy plant machinery to secure their vehicles.
She added: "If criminals cannot steal diggers, they cannot tear out ATMs."
The owner of the Tully Road premises, Gordon Stewart, said he is determined to open up again as soon as possible.
"An hour after these guys have cleared up, I hope to have the place open again," he said.
"Just check all round; electrician wise, builder wise, just get her tidied up and we'll see what we can do."
The chief executive of Retail NI, Glyn Roberts welcomed news of the arrests.
He said that independent retailers who had been targeted in cash machine robberies were dealing with "a huge personal impact" for themselves and their staff.
Mr Roberts said Retail NI recently met the Department of Finance to discuss how they might access the rates hardship fund.
"This is the very least that needs to happen to assist these small businesses getting back on their feet again," he said.
Mr Roberts said he was also "extremely concerned" at reports from members with ATMs, who had not been attacked, but were nevertheless seeing insurance premiums increase dramatically.
"This adds another burden on an already difficult situation," he said.
Cash machine thefts - 2019
14 incidents involving 15 machines.
- 6 January - Supermarket, Old Mountfield Road, Omagh, (Attempt - machine not removed from wall)
- 1 February - Supermarket, Ballymena Road, Antrim (Two cash machines removed).
- 2 February - Supermarket, Glenavy Road, Moira.
- 15 February - Service Station, Killyclogher Road, Omagh.
- 10 March - Service Station, Ballygawley Road, Dungannon.
- 22 March - Bank, Mallusk Road, Newtownabbey.
- 24 March - Service station, Dromore Road, Irvinestown.
- 1 April - Shop, Brook Street, Ahoghill.
- 7 April - Service Station, Feeney Road, Dungiven.
- 16 April - Coffee shop, Main Street, Bushmills.
- 16 April - Supermarket, Main Street, Crumlin (Two cash machines removed).
- 16 April - Shops, Drumgor, Craigavon, (Attempt - machine not removed from wall)
- 26 April - Tesco, Larne Link Road, Ballymena (Two cash machines removed).
- 30 April - Service Station, Tully Road, Nutt's Corner.