Two more ATMs stolen in counties Tyrone and Cavan in latest attacks on rural cash machines
TWO ATMs have been stolen by thieves using diggers in counties Tyrone and Cavan in the latest thefts of rural cash machines.
There have now been nine such thefts on both sides of the border in less than six months, with four of those in Co Tyrone.
It is understood that gardaí and the PSNI are examining whether the two attacks in the early hours of yesterday were linked.
The cash machine at Cabragh Filling Station on the Ballygawley Road near Dungannon was ripped out at around 4.15am.
Detective Inspector Trevor Stevenson said the building was badly damaged in the theft.
"We believe the digger was stolen from a business a short distance away, which caused damage," he said. "The digger was set alight at the scene immediately after the theft."
At around 4am yesterday, a digger was used to rip an ATM from the wall of the Bank of Ireland on Main Street in Kingscourt, Co Cavan.
Gardaí said the ATM was placed on a trailer which was towed by a large four wheel drive vehicle which headed in the direction of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.
Last month the PSNI announced the creation of a dedicated task force to tackle ATM thefts after concerns from retailers.
Shops and filling stations in Omagh, Killyclogher, Fintona have all been targeted since December.
Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew said the attack on Cabragh Filling Station had caused "substantial damage to a hard working local business and what is the only cash machine serving this rural community".
"This is latest attack of this kind in the community in recent years and I would urge anyone with any information to bring it to the PSNI to help catch those responsible,” he added.
The chief executive of Retail NI, Glyn Roberts, said it was "yet another disgraceful attack on one of our members" and warned rural retailers could withdraw ATM services if thefts continue.
"These attacks are now a major problem for local retailers. The PSNI need to redouble their efforts to put the criminal gangs behind these attacks in front of the courts," he said.
"With so many bank branch closures in rural towns and villages in recent years, our members' ATMs provide an invaluable service to their local communities.
"There is a real danger our members could start to remove these ATMs if these attacks continue, leaving many rural areas without the ability to access cash," he said.
Police have appealed for information.