Another cash machine stolen in NI as spate of ATM thefts continues

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A cash machine has been ripped from a wall and stolen in Northern Ireland in the latest of a spate of ATM thefts.

The raid in Dungiven, Co Londonderry, is the eighth ATM theft in the region this year.

In tactics similar to previous attacks, the thieves used a digger stolen from a nearby work site to rip the ATM from the wall.

Last week, police said that several criminal gangs were behind the series of the raids, with paramilitaries potentially cashing in on some of the ill-gotten gains.

It is understood CCTV footage shows three men wearing balaclavas attacking the shop at 4.15am. The raid took around four minutes.

The thieves lowered the ATM into a Citroen Berlingo van which had its roof cut off and drove away, with the ATM protruding out above the top of the vehicle.

ATM Theft in Dungiven
A forensic officer at the scene in Dungiven (David Young/PA)

“The men who did this are just scumbags,” he said.

“There are going to be less and less ATMs about now because of these attacks. There is one basically happening every week now.

“I probably won’t get another cash machine in again – and that will be the local community losing out.”

Unlike previous ATM raids, the digger used was not burned out. Forensic officers in white boiler suits were dusting the cab for fingerprints on Sunday afternoon.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Detective Inspector Richard Thornton said: “Unfortunately, the public and the business community are today waking to the news that another ATM has been stolen; that another business has been targeted by these brazen thieves.

“The theft from the filling station on Feeny Road was reported to us just before 4:30am.

“A digger, believed to have been taken from a site a short distance away, was used to rip the machine from the wall at the side of the shop leaving substantial damage to the building.

“On this occasion, the digger was not set alight and was located at the scene.”

Mr Thornton appealed for witnesses to come forward.

He said: “As in all of these ATM thefts, the actions of these criminals have not only caused immediate financial harm to the business targeted, but they have understandably caused fear in the community and impacted upon a vital service many local people rely on.

“We are doing all we can to catch the people responsible – it is a key priority for us – however, I want to reiterate that the key to stopping these crimes and getting ahead of these criminals is information from the public.

“We need people to report anything suspicious, including seeing any unusual activity or people in areas close to ATMs. For example, if you hear machinery late at night or in the early hours please let us know. If you see any cars being driven in a suspicious manner close to where ATMs are located, please let us know.

“No matter how insignificant you think it is, call us and we will investigate. It could be key to catching the criminals responsible.”

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