Thieves forced to abandon stolen cash machines

Police have recovered two ATMs that were stolen from a supermarket in Ballymena overnight.

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

The digger used in the latest ATM theft in Ballymena was set on fire in the car park of the supermarket. Pic: Pacemaker

The digger used in the latest ATM theft in Ballymena was set on fire in the car park of the supermarket. Pic: Pacemaker

A nearby police patrol responded and spotted the ATMs being driven away from the area on the back of a pick-up type vehicle. They followed and subsequently located the vehicle abandoned on the Woodside Road.

According to the PSNI, there have so far been no arrests made in connection with the incident.

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

Detective Chief Inspector David Henderson said: “The recovered ATMs will now be examined for any forensic evidence they might yield. 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.

The latest ATM theft occurred at a supermarket in Ballymena. Pic: Pacemaker

The latest ATM theft occurred at a supermarket in Ballymena. Pic: Pacemaker

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

The incident in Ballymena was the latest in a spate of ATM thefts at businesses across Northern Ireland.

DCI Henderson added: "I want to reassure the public that we continue to do everything that we can to try stop these attacks and catch those responsible. We have dedicated an increased the amount of resources to tackling this issue including actively patrolling ATM sites day and night. However, the reality is that these attacks are carried out across a wide geographical area and we cannot be present at every ATM location all of the time. We really need the public to help us and report anything suspicious, as a number of people did in Ballymena this morning.

"I would ask for anyone with any information to contact us on 101 quoting reference 121 26/04/19. Let us know if you saw anything or know anything that could help us identify those responsible.”

Police have recovered two ATMs after they were removed from a supermarket on Larne Link Road in Ballymena overnight

Police have recovered two ATMs after they were removed from a supermarket on Larne Link Road in Ballymena overnight

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

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

Officers were alerted to the theft at around 3am this morning

Officers were alerted to the theft at around 3am this morning