Digger used to steal cash machine in spate of ATM thefts in Northern Ireland

A cash machine has been ripped from a wall and stolen in the latest of a spate of ATM thefts in Northern Ireland.

The theft in Dungiven, County Londonderry, marks the eighth cash machine to be stolen in the area so far this year.

Police said last week that several criminal gangs were behind the raids, with paramilitaries potentially profiting from the crimes.

In tactics similar to the previous thefts, a digger was stolen from a nearby building site and used to tear the ATM from the wall.

It was taken from a petrol station on in the town.

CCTV footage reportedly shows three men wearing balaclavas near the shop before carrying out the theft at 4.15am on Sunday.

The raid is said to have taken about four minutes.

The thieves lowered the ATM into a Citroen Berlingo van which had its roof cut off and drove away, with the cash machine protruding out above the top of the vehicle.

Shop owner Martin O’Kane, who surveyed the damage from behind a police cordon on Sunday afternoon, said: “The men who did this are just scumbags.

“There are going to be less and less ATMs about now because of these attacks.

“There is one basically happening every week now.

“I probably won’t get another cash machine in again – and that will be the local community losing out.”

The digger used was not burned out like in previous raids.

Forensic officers were dusting the cab for fingerprints on Sunday afternoon.

Detective Inspector Richard Thornton said: “Unfortunately, the public and the business community are today waking to the news that another ATM has been stolen; that another business has been targeted by these brazen thieves.

“The theft from the filling station on Feeny Road was reported to us just before 4.30am.

“A digger, believed to have been taken from a site a short distance away, was used to rip the machine from the wall at the side of the shop leaving substantial damage to the building.

“On this occasion, the digger was not set alight and was located at the scene.”

Mr Thornton appealed for witnesses to come forward.

:: Anyone with information is asked to call on 101 quoting reference number 357 of 07/04/2019, or they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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