Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland ATM raids: 41 searches, 15 arrests and £51k recovered

Police at the scene of an ATM theft on Dromore Road in Irvinestown in March.
Police at the scene of an ATM theft on Dromore Road in Irvinestown in March.
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Police have revealed they have carried out 41 searches, made 15 arrests and recovered £51,000 in cash following a spate of raids on cash machines across Northern Ireland.

Since the beginning of February there have been 15 ATM thefts and two attempts to steal machines at separate locations across Northern Ireland. Eight of the machines have been recovered. 

It led to fears banks would withdraw services from rural locations and the police establishing a special task force to tackle the crime. Officers upped patrols at potentially vulnerable locations.

Seven men have appeared in court in connection with the incidents and six remanded into custody.

Earlier this month a court heard how £160,000 was not recovered after the theft of two machines at an Asda in Antrim.

"In no way does this mean we will become complacent," said Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Evans, head of Criminal Investigation Branch.

“I would like to thank the public for their help as these arrests and charges demonstrate the positive result of the community and police successfully working together to tackle this crime.

"We continue to focus on doing everything we can to catch those responsible and prevent further thefts of ATMs. Local policing teams continue to patrol areas at night which could be vulnerable to an attack and detectives remain dedicated to investigating the thefts that have taken place.

“I would again appeal to the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious or unusual activity, such as people or vehicles loitering in areas close to ATMs.

“This remains a key priority for us. The idea that ATM thefts are a victimless crime is simply wrong as these attacks cause untold loss and disruption to people, businesses and whole communities, in terms of the loss of very expensive machinery, delays in production, damage to the local economy. If you hear machinery late at night or in the early hours please call us on the non-emergency number 101 or 999 if you think a crime is in progress. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

He added: "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.

“I would appeal to anyone who has any information which could help us apprehend those responsible to contact detectives on 101. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."

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