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Police officer discharged from hospital after hit-and-run incident

There was major traffic disruption in Newry after a digger used to steal an ATM from a garage was burnt and left blocking a main road. Picture Mal McCann.
John Monaghan

A PSNI officer injured in a hit-and-run incident in south Armagh after a lorry was driven towards him at speed, has been discharged from hospital.

Police said the lorry was deliberately driven at the officer - who was investigating the theft of a cash machine from a filling station in Newry - pinning him between it and a police vehicle.

He was treated for a fractured ankle, a wound to the head and injuries to his back after being struck by the lorry in the Mullaghduff Road area of Cullyhanna just before 1.20pm on Friday.

Police - who are treating the incident as attempted murder - believe the lorry involved was stolen a short time earlier from the Kiltybane Road in Cullyhanna.

A lorry matching its description was later found burnt out in Mullyash Mountain in Co Monaghan, about five miles away.

Superintendent Simon Walls said: "We are keen to trace the movements of this lorry and locate its driver. The lorry is described as low loader with a white cab, a yellow bumper, a red low loader body and carrying a white or silver vehicle.

Policing Board chair Anne Connolly said: "This officer was simply doing his job but it shows the dangers our officers can face in serving the community."

Sinn Féin assembly member Megan Fearon said: "This was a horrendous attack and there can be no justification for it."

Earlier on Friday, a digger was used to rip a cash machine from the wall of a filling station on the Camlough Road, near Newry, at about 3.30am.

Later that day, a man in his 20s was arrested by police in the Republic at Drumass, Inniskeen, in Co Monaghan.

Adam Grant (24), of St Brigid's Terrace, Silverbridge, Co Armagh, was charged with causing £12,000 worth of criminal damage to a cash machine and possessing stolen property.

He was remanded in custody at Monaghan District Court on Saturday and is due to appear again on Wednesday.

Three men aged 40, 27 and 24 were released pending further enquiries after being arrested in the Newry and Crossmaglen areas in connection with the theft of the ATM.

Police are continuing to search for a number of men who fled following the robbery and have appealed for anyone with information on the robbery or hit-and-run incident to contact officers on 101.

Meanwhile, two men from Enniskillen have appeared at a special sitting of Sligo District Court accused of robbing a filling station in Killybegs, Co Donegal, on Saturday.

Gavin Harte (21), of Old Rossory Road in Enniskillen and Ivan Crawford (24) of Galliagh Road in Enniskillen, are accused of robbing a filling station in Killybegs and recklessly damaging property.

Harte is also accused of dangerous driving following an alleged car chase through Donegal Town.

The pair are charged with robbing €400 cash and recklessly damaging a fridge freezer, a coffee machine and a display stand in the filling station.

Both men were remanded into custody and will appear before Harristown District Court in Co Roscommon on Friday.

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