Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland ATM raids: 19 arrests, 52 searches and £56k recovered

The scene at a fuel station in Nutts Corner, where a digger was used to rip an ATM from the wall (Rebecca Black/PA)
The scene at a fuel station in Nutts Corner, where a digger was used to rip an ATM from the wall (Rebecca Black/PA)

Police investigating a spate of ATM thefts across Northern Ireland have made 19 arrests, carried out 52 searches and recovered more than £56k in cash.

Since the beginning of the year 15 machines have been stolen in 12 separate incidents, leading the PSNI to set up a dedicated team to investigate the crimes.

Eight of the machines have been recovered.

Last month, a court heard how £160,000 is still unaccounted for after the theft of two machines at an Asda in Antrim.

The spate of ATM thefts has led to fears banks could withdraw their services from rural locations.

Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Evans said that, while the figures are encouraging, "our investigation is by no means over".

"We are not complacent and we continue to focus on doing everything we can to catch those responsible for previous incidents and prevent further thefts," he said.

"Our Local Policing Team colleagues also continue to conduct targeted patrols, day and night, in areas which could be vulnerable to an attack.

"ATM theft is not a victimless crime. These attacks cause untold loss and disruption to people and businesses, many of whom are rural and depend on their local ATM provision for access to cash."

Five men have been charged in connection with ATM thefts in Fintona, Antrim and Nutt's Corner, while two others were charged with a range of other offences including theft and possession of criminal property.

DS Evans appealed for the public to remain alert and report any suspicious activity to the police.

"I would also appeal to anyone who owns or uses heavy plant machinery - please take every possible step to secure and immobilise your machinery. If criminals cannot steal diggers and other similar machinery, they cannot tear out ATMs," he said.

"I would appeal to anyone who has any information which could help us apprehend those responsible to contact detectives on 101."

Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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