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Teenagers arrested at ferry port charged over series of NI ATM thefts

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A teenage gang of alleged cash machine thieves were arrested as they were about to board a ferry back to Liverpool, a court heard yesterday

A teenage gang of alleged cash machine thieves were arrested as they were about to board a ferry back to Liverpool, a court heard yesterday

A teenage gang of alleged cash machine thieves were arrested as they were about to board a ferry back to Liverpool, a court heard yesterday

A teenage gang of alleged cash machine thieves were arrested as they were about to board a ferry back to Liverpool, a court heard yesterday.

Appearing separately at Lisburn Magistrates Court by videolink from police custody, Ricardo Barbu (18) and two other teenagers - who cannot be identified as they are aged 16 and 17 - were jointly accused of what a police officer described as a series of "distraction" theft incidents.

Barbu, with an address on the Chealvy Road in Slough, and his co-accused were charged with three counts of theft amounting to £600 and three further counts of attempted theft, all allegedly committed on June 20 this year.

Giving evidence to the court, Detective Constable Middleton said she believed she could connect all three to each of the offences, adding that police were objecting to bail due to concerns they would not turn up for court.

Describing the offences as a "series of distraction thefts", she claimed the defendants face six charges at the moment as "these are the only ones police are aware of - but there maybe others", adding the PSNI has issued an appeal for information.

The first count, she told the court, related to an incident at around 1pm on Saturday on Hill Street in Newry when an "elderly man was putting his PIN in" when two males "pushed him aside" before stealing £100 from his account.

She said there were other incidents in "similar circumstances" committed in Newry, Armagh, Warrenpoint and Cookstown during Saturday afternoon and early evening but two off duty officers noticed a car as it was "acting suspiciously".

The three defendants were arrested on Sunday morning as they were about to board a Stena Line ferry to Liverpool and the court heard they had planned to sail back on Saturday evening but had missed the boat.

During police interviews all three refused to answer police questions and take part in a video identification procedure.

Despite police objections to them being freed, District Judge Amanda Brady said that due to the age "there's a presumption of bail" and it was only if certain criteria were met that she could refuse the bail applications, criteria which were not met.

All three were freed on their own bail of £100 and ordered to report to police in Slough once a week. The case was adjourned to July 15.

Belfast Telegraph