Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland police swoop on a string of ATM theft suspects

An ATM was stolen from commercial premises in Antrim during the early hours of December 6
An ATM was stolen from commercial premises in Antrim during the early hours of December 6

By Staff Reporter

Detectives investigating cash machine thefts have detained a number of suspects.

The latest arrest was made by police probing the theft of a double ATM from premises in Antrim during the early hours of last Friday.

A digger was used to steal the ATM from Tesco on Castle Way and the vehicle was found on fire at the scene.

Police recovered the stolen ATMs in the Birch Hill Road area of Antrim, a few miles away.

Detective Chief Inspector McCubbin said yesterday: "A 32- year-old male has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal and is currently in custody assisting police with their enquiries."

A 34-year-old man has also been charged with conspiracy to steal in relation to the theft.

On Tuesday, a 28-year-old man was charged with conspiracy to steal and possession of a Class B drug after the same incident.

On Monday, Jamie McConnell (26), of Templepatrick in Co Antrim, appeared in court charged with conspiracy to steal ATMs on dates between October 27, 2018, and December 6 this year.

A 43-year-old man was detained on Friday. He was interviewed before being released on bail.

Separately, three men aged 24, 25 and 26 were arrested in the Omagh and Seskinore areas over ATM thefts.

It is understood the arrests were in relation to an ongoing investigation into the thefts and attempted thefts of ATMs in the Omagh, Fintona and Irvinestown areas between December 2018 and March this year.

A number of searches were also carried out, with a number of items seized for further examination.

The suspects were last night being questioned by detectives.

Speaking after the first arrest, Detective Superintendent Rowan Moore, from the PSNI's criminal investigation branch, said: "In the run-up to the busy festive period, more people will be visiting ATMs and I would encourage the public to let us know if they see anything suspicious.

"Construction work is also likely to come to a halt over the holidays.

"I would encourage those who own or use heavy plant machinery to be mindful of the risk and take every possible step to secure and immobilise machinery.

"If criminals cannot steal diggers, they cannot tear out ATMs. This will also mean that these expensive pieces of machinery are not destroyed or burnt out."

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