Ripped out ATM machine recovered
A CASH machine which was ripped out a wall in Co Tyrone has been recovered.
A digger was used to steal the ATM from a filling station on Killyclogher Road in Omagh early on Friday. The cash machine was discovered on Knockmany Road in Clogher late on Saturday.
Police, who have set up a dedicated task force to probe ATM thefts in Northern Ireland following a spate of recent robberies, said they were continuing to investigate the theft.
A team of PSNI detectives are investigating the recent cash machine crime spree, which has seen six ATM thefts over the past six months.
In Co Tyrone alone, there have been three thefts within the last six weeks, including Friday's robbery near Omagh when a cash machine was ripped from the wall of a service station.
A digger was used to remove the cash machine from the Glendale filling station on the Killyclogher Road.
CCTV footage shows the vehicle ripping the machine from the wall before it is loaded onto the back of a trailer and taken away.
The service station, run by the McCullagh family, have been in business for more than 40 years. Significant damage was caused to the wall of the station.
Police have said said they are investigating the possibility that recent thefts across the north may be linked.
It is also understood that a dedicated team of detectives are probing the crime spree and associated criminalities following recent ATM thefts.
PSNI Detective Chief Inspector David Henderson said: "Each incident has followed a very similar process of targeting premises, before using plant machinery to remove ATMs from the exterior façade.
"This caused significant damage to the property, as well as causing disruption to the business targeted and the local community.
"At this stage, officers are investigating the possibility that these incidents may be linked. Enquiries are continuing and we continue to work hard to identify the perpetrators.
"At present, criminal investigation department detectives across Northern Ireland have been tasked to investigate these incidents and are pro-actively progressing enquiries, to identify and apprehend those involved."
Politicians and business figures said the ATM thefts were an "attack on the community", particularly in rural areas where people rely on the service.
Sinn Féin assembly member Declan McAleer, who is due to meet police today to see "what measures can be put in place" to tackle the thefts, said the robbery was a "reprehensible attack".
"There has been a cluster of robberies within a 10 to 20 mile radius, so this is a very worrying trend," he said.
SDLP assembly member Daniel McCrossan, who has written to the chief constable to raise concerns, described the theft as "deplorable" and said he was worried there had been few PSNI prosecutions.
Glyn Roberts from Retail NI said "vulnerable rural communities are losing out" as a result of the attacks.