Belfast Telegraph

Police believe organised criminal gang responsible for spate of Northern Ireland burglaries targeting rural shops

A forensics officer examines the scene following the theft of a ATM
A forensics officer examines the scene following the theft of a ATM

Police believe a series of burglaries at shops and filling stations across Northern Ireland may have been carried out by the same gang.

Officers believe that as many as 15 burglaries may have been perpetrated by the same group of criminals.

The gang appears to be targeting rural premises, breaking in and disabling security systems before using machinery to cut or break open internal ATMs.

Detective Chief Inspector Will Tate said: "The incidents are not limited to a particular geographic area and we are investigating possible links between incidents as far apart as Enniskillen and Larne.

"Our enquiries to date would suggest that an organised criminal gang is responsible for many of the burglaries and we are working hard to identify the perpetrators.

"We are also keen to help prevent further incidents at other rural businesses and we would encourage retailers to take some steps to minimise risk."

Police are encouraging shop owners to limit the amount of cash stored on the premises or in ATMs.

Tills should be left empty and open over night. If the instore ATM has a self-fill option, shop owners should consider a managed machine or the use of a cash security company instead.

Erecting signs stating there is minimal cash on premises out of hours is advisable.

The police is also encouraging people who live close to rurally located businesses like filling stations and shops who notice any unusual activity to bring it to the attention of police.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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