The chief executive of Retail Northern Ireland has warned that the latest ATM robbery is causing major problems for small family-owned businesses.
Commenting on the robbery in Ahoghill, Co Antrim early on Monday involving a stolen digger, Glyn Roberts told RTE radio’s Morning Ireland that such crimes are attacking small businesses that are the backbone of the rural economy, providing an invaluable service to the local community.
This type of crime is not victim free, he said. It is having an impact on local families who are independent retailers.
If such crimes continue then rural areas are going to become cash free zones, he warned.
Members of Retail Northern Ireland will stop having ATMs on their premises because of the risk of attack, he said.
Mr Roberts said that his organisation is working with the police and the construction industry to combat these crimes.
“The gangs behind these attacks need to be caught and put in jail for a very long time. Sentencing has to reflect the seriousness of these crimes.”