Dundalk ATM thefts: Two men charged following 'military-style operation'

image source, RTE
image captionThe cash machines were stolen in Dundalk in the early hours of Saturday

Two men have been refused bail after appearing in court over ATM thefts described as being like "a military operation".

The cash machines, stolen in County Louth, contained €240,000 (£211,000).

They were taken from banks at Main Street, Dundalk, in the early hours of Saturday, 4 April.

The two men, from Silverbridge, County Armagh, appeared at Craigavon's Magistrates' Court by video link on Monday.

Fergal Nolan, 24, of Bawns Road, and Michael Muckian, 29, of Crave Road, were charged with handling goods stolen in the Republic of Ireland.

The PSNI arrested three men in Crossmaglen after a cross-border pursuit involving a Gardaí helicopter.

The court heard that a few days before the thefts three vehicles and a trailer were stolen in County Monaghan.

'Extensive planning involved'

On the night of the thefts, two of the stolen vehicles were set alight at the exits of Dundalk Garda Station to hinder the police response.

Officers picked up on the theft via the banks' CCTV. The court heard that it appeared all those involved were masked and were communicating via walkie-talkies.

The court heard that the lorry proceeded to block the road before the digger smashed into the banks, removed the machines and placed them on the trailer, which was attached to another vehicle.

A defence lawyer said both defendant's families were willing to put forward cash sureties of £10,000 each.

He said both men were “wanted in the Republic of Ireland on more serious offences".

The judge described it the thefts as "almost a military operation" and said there were "clearly other parties and extensive planning involved".

He rejected bail for both men who will appear again by video link in May.

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