Dramatic CCTV footage roof collapse during attempted ATM robbery
DRAMATIC CCTV footage has revealed the moment a roof collapsed on a Co Down filling station forecourt as its owner tried to stop thieves who had ripped out a cash machine.
The suspects had already used a bulldozer to remove the ATM from the wall of the premises in Carlisles in Ballynahinch when the owner arrived on the scene at around 5.40am yesterday.
Footage shows the owner, who was in his car, try to block the thieves in with his vehicle.
But as the assailant in the bulldozer tries to leave the premises on the Belfast Road, the vehicle is believed to have clipped the top of the petrol station canopy, bringing it crashing down onto the forecourt.
The thieves fled without the cash machine and abandoned the bulldozer, which is believed to have been stolen from a nearby quarry.
Donna Carlisle, whose husband tried to stop the suspects, spoke of her shock.
"In the heat of the moment, he did try to corner them, in the car," she told UTV.
"But they got away. But they caused an awful lot of damage - the canopy has come down, everything.
"And it's lucky that nobody was hurt, because there was a car on the road at the time."
The busy store was badly damaged during the raid as the thieves tried to removed the cash machine. They also stole tills and cigarettes during the raid.
"A lot of people are sitting at home today no work, and we don’t know how long it’ll take to get it all sorted," Ms Carlisle added.
Police said a silver-coloured Volkswagen Passat with a trailer was reported to have been spotted at the scene. A car matching that description was later found on fire in the Queens Park area of Saintfield.
The road was closed on Monday morning, causing major disruption to rush-hour traffic.
Detectives are also investigating the theft of an ATM from premises on the Saintfield Road in Belfast over the weekend.
PSNI Detective Inspector Richard Thornton said the Saintfield Road theft was reported to them on Monday morning after a member of staff arrived at their workplace and discovered entry had been forced and an ATM machine had been taken.
The attack came just days after thieves tried but failed to steal an ATM from Belfast City Hospital.
Gardaí and the PSNI are also investigating an attempted cash machine theft in Dunleer, Co Louth early on Saturday morning.
Police in Crossmaglen are appealing for information in relation to the theft of a Massey Ferguson tractor and a low loader from a property in the Concession Road area of Cullaville.
It is believed that the vehicles were stolen sometime between 2.30pm on Friday 15 and 2.40am on Saturday 16 November, and then used in an attack on an ATM machine across the border in Dunleer.
The low loader was recovered at the scene and the tractor at Hackballscross. Both have since been returned to their respective owners.
Industry organisation Retail NI condemned the latest attacks.
"Words fail to describe my anger at this disgraceful attempted ATM robbery on one of our members," said chief executive Glyn Roberts.
"This has caused extensive damage to one of Ballynahinch's largest retailers in the run-up to Christmas.
"This is an independent retailer, who provides an invaluable service to the local community, awakened from his sleep to be told his business is smashed up.
"It is also a new low for these robbers to attack health centres to steal ATMs."
Police have appealed for information.