14/04/2010

ATM Ram Raid Bags Empty Machine

Although much reduced in number since the New Year, there has now been a second bank cash machine 'ram raid'.

This time the luckless thieves stole an empty cash machine from a shop in Greencastle, Co Tyrone with a contractor's digger being driven through the front window of a shop and the ATM taken.

Martin McCullough, who owns Costcutter on the Greencastle Road, told the BBC that he was awakened at 5am by an alarm at his home linked to the shop.

However, Mr McCullough said that he empties the machine every night and that there was no money in it when it was stolen.

Last year, there were several dozen ram raids on ATMs across the whole of Ireland, with just one other - in Crossmaglen - taking place in NI this year to date.
News Image
The huge reduction has been put down to a combination of increased security on site to prevent contractors equipment being stolen and the impact of a specialised group tasked by the NIO Security Minister last December to tackle the then rapidly-growing problem.

Last month, a police spokeswoman told www.4ni.co.uk that organised gangs have taken around £500,000 from cash machines across Northern Ireland, in many cases using stolen heavy plant machinery.

"Criminals who steal this type of equipment to target ATMs know how to operate heavy plant and they will steal anything that is not properly secured.

"Failure to take appropriate steps to immobilise the machinery means it could be stolen, and it's likely that another ATM will be attacked," she said, noting that fitting an immobiliser or removing vital parts can achieve this.

See: Cops 'Foil ATM Robbers'

(BMcC/GK)

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