Belfast Telegraph

Bomb attack on Co Armagh ATM destroyed £45,000 in cash

A bomb attack on a cash machine resulted in £45,000 worth of money and equipment being destroyed, the High Court heard today.

Damage inflicted by the explosion at an ATM in Hamiltonsbawn, Co Armagh was irreparable, prosecutors said.

The full scale of destruction was revealed as one of the men accused of carrying out the blast mounted a bid to be released on bail.

Ioan Anton, 37, denies charges of criminal damage, attempted theft and causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property.

The Romanian national, with an address at Brega Hamlet Lane, Balbriggan in the Irish Republic, was arrested with a co-accused after police stopped a car in Keady hours after the attack on June 5.

Officers had earlier discovered the ATM outside a Costcutters shop in Hamiltonsbawn ablaze and connected to a battery pack and wires. A baseball cap and adhesive tape were also found at the scene.

Gas is believed to have been used to carry out the explosion.

Witnesses told police they heard a loud bang at the shop and saw a car speed off.

Prosecution counsel confirmed today that detectives believe the thieves were trying to blow up the ATM and seize its cash contents rather than steal the entire apparatus.

She said the Danske Bank machine had contained £90,000 in cash and was beyond repair.

"The officer in charge said £45,000 was destroyed in the explosion," the barrister disclosed.

Anton and his co-accused declined to answer questions following their arrest, the court heard.

Mr Justice O'Hara was also told the device and modus operandi in the Hamiltonsbawn attack was similar to a previous ATM raid in Carrickmore where a large amount of money was stolen.

Seeking bail, defence barrister Tom McCreanor argued there has been a delay in obtaining forensic results.

He predicted his client may have to wait well into next year before he faces any trial.

But after being informed that forensic results will be available by mid-October the judge adjourned the application until then.

He stressed, however: "I'm not saying bail will necessary be granted; this is not a straight forward case.

"Your client's silence about what he was doing when questioned may not have helped."

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