Belfast Telegraph

More than £160,000 taken in ATM raid not recovered, court told

Barry Smyth appears at Ballymena Court on Thursday charged in connection with ATM theft.
Picture Pacemaker Press
Barry Smyth appears at Ballymena Court on Thursday charged in connection with ATM theft. Picture Pacemaker Press

By Nevin Farrell

A court has heard over £160,000 which was in two ATM machines ripped out of a wall in a raid on the Asda supermarket in Antrim has not been recovered.

The details emerged at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday where Barry Richard Smyth (31), of Ballyutoag Road, Nutts Corner, was remanded in custody in connection with a number of offences relating to the Asda incident  in February this year.

The defendant was charged with the theft of cash worth £88,590 from one machine and £74,950 from the other and he was also charged with stealing the ATM machines worth a total of £32,000.

Smyth is further charged with causing criminal damage to the Asda building and taking a digger and a Mitsubishi L200 vehicle without authority.

He also faces three counts of arson relating to the Mitsubishi vehicle and the ATMs.

A police officer said she believed she could connect the accused to the charges.

Opposing bail she said in the early hours of February 1 this year alarms went off at ATMs at Asda where a digger had been used to rip them from a wall.

CCTV showed the ATMs being driven away in a Mitsubishi vehicle which had been stolen from Ballyeaston.

The vehicle and the shells of the ATMs were found burnt out at Tildarg Road near Ballyclare and £163,540 had not been recovered.

The officer alleged a match to Smyth's DNA was found on the controls of a stolen digger used in the Asda raid.

She objected to bail fearing he could abscond and may obstruct the course of justice.

"Police believe this is part of a larger crime gang," the officer said.

She said the nature of the destruction of property showed the "mindset" of the defendant.

A defence lawyer said his client denied being involved and told police: "I didn't do this".

The lawyer said mixed DNA had been taken from the digger.

Refusing bail, District Judge Nigel Broderick said there was a DNA profile from inside the digger used in the theft and he was concerned there was a risk of offending and a risk of interference in the case.

Smyth was remanded in custody and the case was adjourned to Antrim Magistrates Court on May 28.

At the same court a man was remanded in custody after being charged in relation to the theft of an ATM at Nutts Corner earlier this week.

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Patrick Close appears at Ballymena Court on Thursday charged in connection with ATM theft. Credit: Pacemaker Press

Patrick Close (21) of Camlin Park, Crumlin, faces five charges linked to the theft of an ATM worth £16,000 containing £59,090.

He is further accused of causing criminal damage to a Costcutters store; theft and arson of a Hitachi digger and aggravated taking and causing damage to a Land Rover.

A police officer said she believed she could connect him to the charges.

A defence solicitor said he had no questions regarding the defendant being connected to the charges and he said no application was being made for bail.

A prosecution lawyer asked for the case to be adjourned for four weeks to await a full file being received from police.

Close was remanded in custody to Antrim Magistrates Court on May 28.

A co-accused (31) from Belfast had appeared at the same court on Wednesday in relation to the Nutts Corner raid.

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Police forensic experts examine the scene at Tully Road, Nutts Corner

Meanwhile, a man who was released unconditionally after being interviewed by detectives investigating the theft of the ATM at Nutts Corner appeared at the court.

Jamie McConnell (26), of Templeton Park, Templepatrick, is charged with possession of criminal property relating to April 30.

A police officer said she believed she could connect the accused to the charges.

Opposing bail she said cash in sterling and Euros was found during a search.

She said a bag with a picture of an Uzi machine gun on it was found and the bag contained white powder.

The officer said it was alleged that the defendant had driven whilst disqualified on a number of occasions.

It was alleged the defendant had been spotted on CCTV at a number of locations over a number of days.

The officer said police recovered six sets of vehicle keys.

The court heard the defendant had been questioned in relation to the Nutts Corner ATM theft and unreleased unconditionally.

A defence solicitor said his client had been arrested on Tuesday amid a "blaze of publicity".

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The ATM was taken from a petrol station at Tully Road (Rebecca Black/PA)

The lawyer said the defendant had "no involvement whatsoever" with the Nutts Corner ATM theft.

The defendant faces one charge of possessing criminal property; three charges of driving while disqualified; using a vehicle without insurance at Junction One in Antrim; Tesco at Larne Road Link in Ballymena and Doagh; possession of cocaine and possession of a firework without a licence.

He was released on £500 bail with a £500 surety and he is banned from driving or being in the front passenger seat of any vehicle.

He must sign once a week at Antrim Police Station.

His case was adjourned to Ballymena Magistrates Court on May 30.

Later on Thursday officers arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the theft of the ATM at Nutss Corner on Tuesday April 30.

He was arrested on suspicion of theft, criminal damage and arson.

He remains in custody at this time.

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