Belfast Telegraph

Caught on camera: botched ATM raid that ended with man burned in digger fire

By Deborah McAleese

These are the dramatic moments when a crime gang attempted to rip an ATM from a wall with a stolen digger.

After several clumsy bids the driver was forced to abandon the digger after he failed to remove the machine from the side of building.

Just moments later one of the gang members sustained what appeared to be serious burn injuries when the digger was set alight in an effort to destroy evidence.

Police believe the man would have needed urgent medical treatment and would not have been able to hide his injuries.

He left the scene in a white van with two other men.

The brazen theft attempt took place at around 3am on Thursday, October 23, at a Centra supermarket on Dobbin Road in Portadown.

Detectives have been unable to trace the gang, so yesterday the CCTV footage was released in a bid to identify those behind the crime.

Police said that at around 3am on the day a Manitou telescopic telehandler was driven at the ATM in an attempt to rip it from the wall.

The digger had been stolen from a building site in the Killyman Street area of Moy the previous day.

It is understood that the robbery attempt started to go wrong when the driver was unable to manoeuvre the digger over a kerb.

"On being unsuccessful in his attempt to steal the ATM, the driver of the digger then set it alight and entered a white van containing two other males and left the scene," said PSNI Detective Inspector Jill Duffie

She added: "We believe one of the males may have sustained burn injuries during this incident which required medical treatment. We are releasing this CCTV footage as part of our investigation to identify the men involved or the whereabouts of the white Transit van."

There have been approximately 10 thefts or attempted thefts of cash machines across Northern Ireland since January.

There are fears these raids will force the withdrawal of vital ATM services from rural areas.

Policing Board member Jonathan Craig said: "ATM thefts are not a major problem for the PSNI, however it is still 10 too many. Although the theft attempts are rarely successful, just one machine is a good pay day for them."

The DUP MLA added: "I would encourage businesses to work with the police to look at prevention methods."

Factfile

In most cases, stolen diggers have been used to rip the cash machine out of a wall. However, in June thieves set off a gas explosion to break into an ATM in Keady, and an explosive device was used in Hamiltonsbawn.

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