Belfast Telegraph

Armagh ATM raid: Police's crime gang warning after explosives used on supermarket cash machine

By Adrian Rutherford

Thieves have stolen cash after blowing up an ATM in Co Armagh. The raid in Keady is the third of its type in recent weeks.

Police said they were alerted around 2.45am yesterday after reports of a loud bang in the area.

Officers found thieves had targeted the ATM at Rice's supermarket on the Victoria Road.

Damage was caused to the door and front panel of the machine and a quantity of cash was stolen.

Army technical officers were tasked to the scene and a number of homes evacuated.

SDLP councillor Thomas O'Hanlon said he believed the thieves took a significant sum of money.

"Not only have they got away with money, but they have caused significant disruption in the town," he said.

It is the third time explosives have been used in an ATM theft in recent weeks.

On June 5 extensive damage was caused to a machine at the Costcutter shop in Hamiltonsbawn, around 12 miles away.

On May 23 a gang made off with cash after robbing an ATM in Carrickmore, Co Tyrone. It is understood an explosive device was also used in that raid.

Police are believed to be investigating if there are links to similar robberies here and in the Republic in recent months.

Detective Chief Superintendent Roy McComb, head of Organised Crime Branch, said: "These types of incidents present a serious risk to the community.

"Our advice to the public is to avoid any ATM that appears to have been tampered with and, in particular, do not approach any which has hoses, wires or other items leading from it. Call the police immediately on 999."

Sinn Fein MLA Cathal Boylan visited the scene of the latest attack yesterday. He voiced concerns that a gang may be targeting cash machines in the area. "Rural communities rely on these amenities and for them to be targeted in this way by criminal elements is extremely damaging for local people," he said.

"This is the second such incident in recent weeks and local people are worried that it is the same perpetrators at work.

"Those responsible have shown little regard for the local community and I urge everyone with any information to contact the PSNI."

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