Latest ATM digger raid 'a disaster' for Northern Ireland community - two held after police swoop
The theft of an ATM in a rural area of Northern Ireland has been described as a disaster for the local community.
Two people were arrested after thieves used a digger to pull the cash machine from the wall of a filling station on the Tully Road at Nutts Corner, Co Antrim.
It happened at about 3.30am on Tuesday. The stolen ATM has been recovered, police said.
The attack was the latest in a spate of ATM thefts in Northern Ireland this year. Fifteen machines have been stolen in 2019.
The service station owner, who did not wish to be named, was at the scene on Tuesday.
He said it was the second time that an ATM at the site has been stolen, following an incident about eight years ago.
He added that a new ATM had been installed at the service station just last year.
Local council candidate Mervyn Rea described the loss of the ATM as a disaster for the surrounding rural community.
"The local community depends so much on ATMs, this was one done before, and all I can say is it is great that police have already made arrests," the Ulster Unionist Party representative said.
"This is a huge filling station and shop, it's extremely busy on a busy road which leads to the airport, the business it will be losing because of this will be horrendous to them."
Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts welcomed the arrests and said credit is due to the PSNI.
“While we have made progress, yet another independent retailer has to deal with the aftermath of a seriously damaged store,” he said.
Retail NI has met with the Department of Finance in recent days to discuss the impacted retailers being able to access the Rates Hardship fund.
Mr Roberts said: "This is the very least that needs to happen to assist these small businesses getting back on their feet again.”
“I am getting extremely concerned at reports from members with ATMs, who have not even been attacked, who are now seeing their insurance premiums dramatically increasing”
“This adds another burden on an already difficult situation”
Police said they were not disclosing information about those detained for investigative reasons, describing them only as "two persons".
PSNI Detective Inspector Richard Thornton said: "Police received a report that a digger was being used to remove an ATM from a service station on the Tully Road at around 3.30am this morning.
"We immediately directed considerable policing resources to the area and two arrests were made and the stolen ATM recovered. Both people are currently in custody and will be questioned on suspicion of theft and a number of other offences."
Anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in area overnight is asked to contact detectives on 101.
Belfast Telegraph Digital