A gang in the Republic of Ireland failed to notice the cash machine they targeted was out of money.
The raiders were forced to flee empty-handed following the blunder, which took place in full view of a CCTV camera.
The ATM had not dispensed any cash since December 9 when it was withdrawn from service by Permanent TSB.
The thieves failed to notice this, however, before they used a stolen mini-digger to rip it from the wall of the Texaco service station on the Model Farm Road, in Cork, in the early hours of yesterday morning.
It is understood the thieves stole the mini-digger from a building site in Ballincollig shortly before the attempted robbery.
At about 2.30am, they used its mechanical arm to tear the ATM out of the service station's wall and to break open the metal housing which unusually contains the unit's cash.
After discovering that the ATM was empty, the criminals fled from the scene in a van, which was discovered a short distance away. A staff member at the filling station said yesterday that an out-of-order sign had been on the machine in recent weeks, but couldn't say if the notice was in place at the time of the attempted robbery. Garda forensic experts carried out examinations of the scene yesterday.
A spokesperson for Permanent TSB said the fact that there was no cash in the ATM at the time of the incident was very fortunate. It added that the bank reviewed security on a daily basis to see what lessons could be learned.
Source Irish Independent