24/09/2008

Digger Wrecks Shop In Second Failed ATM Ram-Raid

As Irish police revealed they have arrested two men for questioning in connection with a G4Securicor CIT vehicle robbery yesterday in Dublin, the PSNI are hunting an inept gang in Northern Ireland who used a bulldozer in a second failed ram-raid on an ATM cash machine.

Taking place early this morning, this was the second such incident in Co Tyrone in less than a fortnight.

The heavy digger was driven into the side of a Spar shop beside Kelly's Inn on the main road west toward Enniskillen, in Garvaghey, outside Ballygawley.

It happened at at about 2.30am on Wednesday and while extensive damage was caused to the premises, a PSNI spokeswoman later said neither the cash machine nor any money was taken.

Last week a similar digger was used to demolish a wall in nearby Carrickmore in an attempt to steal an ATM machine.

It later emerged that the safe containing the cash for the machine, which police thought had been stolen in that incident, was actually left buried under the rubble.

Meanwhile, the busy Spar shop and hot food bar owners in Ballygawley have said they were "disappointed" at the attack.

They told the BBC that it caused a lot of disruption to the business which "has obviously had a knock on effect on the local community".

"As a family-run business, we are keen to work with local police to get the situation sorted out," they said.
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PSNI Inspector Clive Ballantine at Omagh police station said the raids were direct attacks on the local community.

"The methods used by the gang were very similar. In both instances they were unsuccessful, but that was not for the want of trying," he said.

"A point that should not be overlooked is that these were not only attacks on the commercial life of this area, they were attacks on the local community.

"In Carrickmore the post office was out of action for some time, causing a great deal of inconvenience to locals, and this morning's raid also hit at a facility that is of importance to local people."

Meanwhile, in Dublin, Gardaí have arrested two suspects in connection with an armed raid on a cash-in-transit van on Tuesday.

A member of the G4Securicor staff was injured during the raid in which two shots were fired, and over €18,000 was stolen.

The incident took place outside the Ulster Bank branch near the Coachman's Inn pub on the Old Swords Road.

Two men disguised in Balaclavas, one carrying a hand gun and the other a sawn-off shot gun, threatened the staff before snatching a cash box containing lodgements from business premises, and escaping on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.

See: Two Held Over Cash Van Robbery

(BMcC)

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