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Two vehicles set alight at garda station to hinder response as two ATMs stolen in Dundalk

The thieves were chased to the border by the Garda Armed Support Unit and, later, the PSNI arrested three people.

Image: Ciara Wilkinson

Updated Apr 4th 2020, 10:52 AM

AN GARDA SÍOCHÁNA has said it is liaising closely with the Police Service of Northern Ireland, after thieves who stole two ATMs in Louth overnight were chased by gardaí to the border and later arrested.

The ATMs were stolen on Clanbrassil Street in Dundalk in the early hours today, gardaí said.

In an updated statement, gardaí said it had observed plant machinery and other vehicles travelling in a convoy at around 3.15am and responded immediately. 

At the same time, two vehicles were set alight at both entrances at Dundalk Garda Station to hinder the garda response to the incidents. 

A Volkswagen Amorak SUV and a 2014-registered Mercedes red saloon left the scene with the two ATMs in a trailer.

The raiders were intercepted by members of the Garda Armed Support Unit and, following a traffic pursuit, crossed the border into Northern Ireland.

Two garda vehicles sustained minor damage but no injuries were reported. The scene in Dundalk remains preserved. Gardaí are appealing for anyone with information to contact them at Dundalk Garda Station on 042 2938 8400 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

Three men were subsequently arrested by the PSNI in south Armagh and the ATMs have been recovered. 

DCI Julie Mullan said: “Officers made their way to the Jonesborough area and located a discarded trailer with two ATMS in the Mullabawn area of County Armagh.

“It was established that the suspects had entered a property in the Crossmaglen area, officers attended supported by colleagues in the armed response unit.”

The men – aged 24, 29 and 57 – were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen property and remain in police custody. 

In recent times, there has been a spate of ATM robberies in border counties north and south. 

In a statement, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan commended the actions of the gardaí and PSNI following the robbery.

He said: “I am glad to see both police services working so closely together across the border to investigate this robbery and want to commend them for their swift response and close cooperation.   

Both services are working flat out in difficult circumstances to help protect and support the public at this challenging time and, as always, they deserve our support and cooperation. I would ask any member of the public with information to contact the Gardaí at Dundalk. 

Also reacting to the incident, Sinn Féin TD for Louth Ruarí Ó Murchú said that the actions of “organised criminal gangs are a blight on our communities at all times”. 

“I spoke with a senior Garda earlier in the week, who believed certain criminal gangs would be under the illusion that they would be able to operate without detection, but that the Gardaí were prepared for this,” Ó Murchú said.

We are facing a life and death battle with Covid-19 and criminal gangs cannot be allowed to risk lives, profiteer, cause damage and disrupt the services busy dealing with this pandemic.

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Sean Murray

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