15 people arrested and over £50,000 recovered in relation to recent rampage of ATM thefts
ATM crime has become very common.
Over the last six months, at least a dozen ATMs have been pulled from walls with diggers across Ireland. This kind of crime has been prevalent in Northern Ireland, border towns in Monaghan and Fermanagh, and Kells in Meath.
On Thursday morning, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) issued a statement confirming that they have carried out 41 searches in relation to the crimes, and made a total 15 arrests. Police have also recovered £51,000.
As a result of the arrests, detectives have now charged five men in relation to ATM thefts in Fintona, Antrim and Tully Road, Nutt’s Corner. Two more men face charges for other offences including theft, driving offences and possession of criminal property. Six men have been remanded in custody.
Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Evans, Head of Criminal Investigation Branch, said of the operations: "However, in no way does this mean we will become complacent.
"We continue to focus on doing everything we can to catch those responsible and prevent further thefts of ATMs. Local policing teams continue to patrol areas at night which could be vulnerable to an attack and detectives remain dedicated to investigating the thefts that have taken place.
"I would again appeal to the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious or unusual activity, such as people or vehicles loitering in areas close to ATMs."
Evans also appealed to those who own heavy-duty machinery to be more careful in locking it up.
"The idea that ATM thefts are a victimless crime is simply wrong as these attacks cause untold loss and disruption to people, businesses and whole communities, in terms of the loss of very expensive machinery, delays in production, damage to the local economy," he said.
"If you hear machinery late at night or in the early hours please call us on the non-emergency number 101 or 999 if you think a crime is in progress. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
"I would also appeal to anyone who owns or uses heavy plant machinery - please take every possible step to secure and immobilise your machinery. If criminals cannot steal diggers and other similar machinery, they cannot tear out ATMs."