Northern Ireland news

ATM ripped from wall at Co Fermanagh filling station in second attack in 48 hours

The filling station on the Dromore Road, Irvinestown, which was targeted in the latest ATM robbery. Picture by Ann McManus
John Monaghan

EXTENSIVE damage has been caused to a filling station in Co Fermanagh which has become the latest victim of robbers targeting ATM cash machines.

Thieves used a digger to remove the ATM from Drumharvey Filling Station/McAleer's SPAR on the Dromore Road in Irvinestown just after 4am yesterday.

"Due to the theft of our ATM last night, the shop will remain closed until further notice," McAleer's SPAR said in a Facebook post.

It is the eleventh such theft on either side of the border in six months and comes just 48 hours after a Danske Bank branch in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, was targeted.

In Friday's robbery, police believe the digger used was stolen from a nearby business.

A digger was used to rip an ATM machine from the wall of this filling station in Irvinestown. Picture by Ann McManus

Police said they believe the digger used in yesterday's attack, which was set alight at the scene, was also stolen from a building site close by.

Read More: Float depicting ATM theft takes part in Co Cavan parade

Detective Sergeant Brian Reid said: "We believe the culprits used a trailer to remove the ATM from the scene.

"We also believe the digger was stolen from ground under development nearby. We are investigating whether this ATM theft is linked to any other recent thefts."

The chief executive of Retail NI, Glyn Roberts, said the "growing number of these attacks is now a major cause for concern" and added that security at building sites needed to be "urgently reviewed".

"Retail NI will organise an urgent meeting of representatives from banks, the construction sector and the PSNI to discuss this crisis," he said.

Just a fortnight ago, also in the early hours of a Sunday, diggers were used to rip out cash machines from premises in counties Tyrone and Cavan.

Almost half of all the thefts have occurred in Co Tyrone, with shops and filling stations in Omagh, Cabragh, Killyclogher and Fintona targeted since December.

In February, Hughes Eurospar in Carrickmore announced it was withdrawing its ATM service due to the spate of attacks, while the PSNI said it was establishing a dedicated task force to tackle ATM thefts after concerns from retailers.

Meanwhile, police have appealed for information after a van containing "what appears to be the remnants" of an ATM machine were discovered in a field in Crumlin, Co Antrim, on Saturday morning.

Although just several miles from the scene of Friday's attack, officers said they are working to "establish where the vehicle and machine were stolen from".

Detective Sergeant Lyttle said: "We received a report shortly before 11.30am that a burnt out Transit-type van, containing what appears to be the remnants of an ATM machine, was discovered in a field in the Carnaghliss Road area.

"It's believed the fire occurred sometime (on Friday) around 10.30pm. NIFRS attended and have ruled this to be deliberate ignition."

Police have appealed for anyone with information about either incident to contact officers on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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