Northern Ireland news

Man charged after botched attempt to steal Ballynahinch ATM

The roof of Carlisles filling station forecourt came down during the attempted ATM robbery. Picture by Mal McCann

A 26-year-old man has been charged in connection with the attempted theft of an ATM machine in Ballynahinch, which resulted in the roof of a filling station forecourt collapsing. 

The man has been charged with burglary, criminal damage endangering life with intent, aggravated vehicle taking causing damage to property and theft. 

A 25-year-old man arrested on suspicion of offences as part of the investigation remains in custody assisting police with enquiries, while a 24-year-old man has been released on bail pending further enquiries. 

Dramatic CCTV footage revealed the moment the roof collapsed as its owner tried to stop thieves who had ripped out a cash machine.

Detective Inspector Handley said: "The attempted ATM theft in Ballynahinch yesterday caused serious damage to the petrol station, which will have a significant economic impact on the business. A vital community resource that allows people to access cash instantly has also been impacted... 

"I would continue to appeal to anyone who see any suspicious activity to please report it. Time is of the essence in catching these criminals." 

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.

"Just devastated."

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.



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