Belfast Telegraph

'Phone evidence' links man to ATM thefts, court told

Jamie McConnell outside Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday
Jamie McConnell outside Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday

By Nevin Farrell

A man has been remanded in custody in connection with the theft of a double ATM from a Co Antrim Tesco store.

Jamie McConnell was using crutches when he appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday.

The 26-year-old, of Templeton Park in Templepatrick, Co Antrim, is charged with conspiring with others to steal ATM machines to unknown value belonging to various banks and businesses on dates between October 27, 2018, and December 6 this year.

A digger was used to steal the ATM at Tesco last Friday 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 from the scene.

An officer said he believed he could connect the accused to the charge.

A defence solicitor said the "rip-out" at Tesco occurred at the "rear of the police station" in Antrim.

The officer said the defendant was linked to the Antrim incident and other incidents by "phone evidence".

He added that phone sim cards had been seized which contained the phone number of a person who lives at a "drop site".

The policeman said there was also a link between the defendant and an 'L200' vehicle.

The court heard the defendant had previously been arrested in connection with an ATM raid at Nutts Corner.

The defence solicitor said evidence against his client was "circumstantial" and there was no fingerprint or DNA linking him to diggers or vehicles.

The officer said he believed the defendant was "forensically aware" and that diggers used in raids are set on fire, making it difficult to obtain DNA.

The defence solicitor added that it is understood there may be further arrests and the defendant was of the view he should not apply for bail "until everyone is spoken to".

McConnell was remanded in custody to appear at Antrim Magistrates Court via video-link on December 17.

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