Gang flees empty-handed after post office cash machine raid
Thieves have failed in an attempt to steal a cash machine from a post office in Dungiven.
A masked three-man gang struck the post office and shop in the town's Main Street in the early hours of yesterday morning.
It is understood extensive damage was caused to the inside of the premises after the men smashed their way through a door during the raid.
The gang then wrapped a chain around the ATM before connecting it to a stolen 4x4 vehicle.
They then unsuccessfully tried to rip the machine from its position at the front of the shop before fleeing the scene empty-handed.
Mayor of Limavady Sean McGlinchey, who lives in Dungiven, condemned the incident.
"The post office is used by the community and we are trying to keep them open, so we don't need people trying to rob them. It's mainly used by elderly people.
"We have had a number of attacks on elderly people in the community in recent times and I have raised this with the PSNI.
"No community needs things like this happening."
Glyn Roberts from the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association, which represents small traders, said steps to improve security where ATMs are housed have been successful.
He said: "While we condemn this attempted robbery, nevertheless the robbers did not succeed.
"It appears that retailers are heeding advice about increasing their security and removing cash from the machines overnight.
"ATMs in rural areas are a lifeline to the local community and these robbers were intent on depriving Dungiven of this important service.
"We would urge all retailers and the community as a whole to stay alert for such robberies."
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Attacks on ATMs have reduced dramatically in recent years after the PSNI warned business people to take extra security precautions. However, between March 2009 and February 2010 there were 13 cash machine thefts and nine attempted thefts across Northern Ireland. This includes the theft of an ATM from a shop in Crossmaglen in January 2010, the theft of a machine from a bank in Ballygawley in November 2009, and the theft of an ATM from a shop in Ardglass in October 2009.