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'Be our eyes and ears': Appeal to public to report suspicious activity in wake of ATM thefts

Multiple ATMs have been stolen across the border in a matter of weeks.

The scene in Dungiven, Co Londonderry, after a cash machine was ripped from a wall and stolen
The scene in Dungiven, Co Londonderry, after a cash machine was ripped from a wall and stolen
Image: David Young via PA Images

AHEAD OF THE weekend, the PSNI is appealing to people to report any suspicious activity in wake of a spate of ATM thefts across the border region. 

Late last Sunday, a cash machine was ripped from a filling station on the Feeny Road in Derry.

It was the eighth ATM theft in Northern Ireland this year, while similar incidents have also taken place south of the border in Cavan and Monaghan.

Detective Chief Inspector David Henderson has asked the public to “remain vigilant and alert and any activity that is unusual, out of the ordinary or suspicious”. 

Henderson noted that the recent ATM attacks have impacted communities on multiple levels. 

The livelihoods of local businesses are being jeopardised by the thefts and they are being forced to face additional costs involved in repairing their premises, Henderson said. 

He added that the populations served by the ATMs, which are oftentimes rural, are being denied access to cash facilities. 

Farmers and constructions firms are also suffering the loss of equipment and machinery. 

Gardaí are investigating a number of different theories into the incidents. However, both officers here and those across the border are probing if dissident republicans are behind the seizures. One avenue of investigation is that dissident republicans are stockpiling money in the event of a hard Brexit.

Appeal

“It is not possible for our officers to be everywhere at once and to predict where these criminals may target next. We need communities to help be our eyes and ears,” Henderson said.

“If you see activity overnight in or around building sites, report it immediately. Owners of plant machinery, please secure and lock up your equipment, and please consider installing immobilisers – at least one digger theft has recently been prevented because of one,” he said.

Business owners, please review your security. Consider installing alarm-linked motion sensor cameras if you don’t already have them.

“If you know who is responsible for these crimes, please search your conscience and contact us. These criminals are trying to rip the heart out of local communities and we need you to help us stop them,” he said. 

Anyone who has any information in relation to the incidents are being asked to call the PSNI on the non-emergency number 101. In an emergency or if a suspected crime is in progress, people can call 999.

Alternatively, people can contact UK Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

With reporting by Garreth Mac Namee

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