Belfast Telegraph

Co Antrim ATM raids accused is refused bail

The Tesco in Antrim where money was stolen from an ATM on December 6
The Tesco in Antrim where money was stolen from an ATM on December 6

By Staff Reporter

The amount of money stolen and the cost of damage caused in a wave of ATM thefts in Co Antrim is over £800,000, a court has heard.

Details were given at Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday where bail was refused to a man who police suspect is part of an "organised crime gang".

An officer listed 10 ATM raids in areas including Ballyclare, Antrim, Glenavy, Mallusk, Ahoghill, Bushmills, Crumlin, Ballymena and Nutts Corner.

In some cases the officer outlined how much cash was in the stolen ATMs, how much damage was caused to properties, and diggers which were used in the thefts.

The figure given to the court was at least £800,000.

This included over £400,000 which was stolen from the machines.

David Edward McClurkin (35), of Templeton Park, Templepatrick, is charged with conspiracy to steal.

The charge relates to dates between October 27, 2019 - the date of the ATM theft in Ballyclare - and December 6, when two ATMs were stolen at Tesco in Antrim.

The details of the charge are that the defendant "conspired with others to steal ATMs and cash and other property to an unknown value belonging to various banks and businesses".

McClurkin had previously been remanded in custody in connection with the charge when he appeared at Limavady Magistrates Court. He appeared via video-link from prison at Ballymena Court yesterday in connection with a bail application.

The officer told the court that during an interview the defendant had denied involvement in the thefts.

However the officer believed McClurkin was part of an "active OCG (organised crime group)" and opposed bail fearing he may not return to court and may also "commit further offences".

A defence barrister said, in relation to the Crumlin ATM raid, that the defendant was at a wedding in Belfast and got a taxi home.

The court heard there was a forensic link to McClurkin by way of DNA on a bag found in a vehicle which was discovered following the Ballymena ATM theft on April 26 this year.

The defence lawyer said McClurkin is a mechanic with his own garage and he had repaired a broken cylinder in relation to that vehicle.

The lawyer said the defendant had an alibi in relation to the December 6 ATM theft in Antrim when he was at licensed premises in Belfast.

The lawyer said that there was no suggestion that those involved in the wave of thefts had used "burner" or "dirty" mobile phones.

The officer said: "Unusually for an organised crime group there has been usage of their own mobile phones which we were quite surprised about."

The defence lawyer said McClurkin's grandmother was willing to put up a £10,000 bail surety.

Refusing bail, District Judge Nigel Broderick said there had been "significant" thefts of ATMs involving large amounts of money. He pointed out the defendant's DNA was found on a bag located in a vehicle which police allege was involved in the theft of at least two ATMs.

The judge then refused bail, and the case was adjourned to January.

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