Shutterstock/Dasha Petrenko

ATM thieves flee 'empty-handed' as police foil cash machine robbery after spotting raiders

An attempt was made to steal two machines in Co Antrim overnight.

THE POLICE SERVICE of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has recovered two ATMs after they were stolen from a supermarket in Ballymena, Co Antrim overnight.

Officers were alerted to the theft at the supermarket on the Larne Link Road at around 3am this morning.

A nearby police patrol responded and saw the ATMs being driven away from the area on the back of a pick-up vehicle.

They followed and subsequently found the vehicle carrying the machines abandoned on the Woodside Road.

However, the tractor and digger used to remove the cash machines were set alight at supermarket.

Speaking about the recovery of the machines today, Detective Chief Inspector David Henderson said the ATMs would be examined for forensic evidence.

“On this occasion the quick response of the police patrol was able to force the thieves to abandon their vehicles and the ATMs and they have fled empty-handed,” he said.

“It is likely that the digger and tractor involved were stolen however no reports of such machinery being stolen have been received as yet.”

Henderson also said an increased amount of resources had been made available to tackling ATM thefts, but said they could not police every ATM location all the time.

“We really need the public to help us and report anything suspicious, as a number of people did in Ballymena this morning,” he added.

Ten cash machines have already been stolen in Northern Ireland this year, with two more stolen in Kells, Co Meath last week.

Earlier this week, gardaí recovered the two ATMs which are suspected to have been stolen in Kells near the Monaghan-Meath border.

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