It has emerged that Gardaí prevented an ATM digger theft in Carlingford, County Louth over St Patrick’s weekend.
They believe they came across a car which was part of the modus operandi used by the gang behind recent thefts.
A source confirmed that Gardaí on patrol in the popular border village noticed the car and its occupants ‘acting suspiciously’ close to the ATM, which is on Newry Street.
A senior Garda source said that before the Gardaí could approach the car to speak to the men in it, it left the scene at speed.
This happened around 3.30am on the Saturday of the bank holiday weekend.
They suspected they had interrupted the early stages of an ATM digger theft.
Subsequent enquiries led to Gardaí finding a stolen digger, trailer and van a few kilometres from Carlingford on the Omeath road.
The Omeath road continues northwards to Newry in Northern Ireland.
“The circumstances led us to believe they may have been in the early stages in attempting to take the ATM in Carlingford,” the source said.
Reacting to the news, Louth deputy Declan Breathnach (FF), said, “I give credit to the stretched Garda resources in the efforts to control out of control criminality in the North East region including ATM thefts, drug feud, counterfeiting and paramilitary activity along with normal policing duties.”
He also said the public has an important role to play in crime prevention.
He also said there is a need to “fast-tracking of the bail and jail laws to deter those all too aware criminals from exploiting the criminal justice system who know the shortcomings of the current penal system.”
Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland and AIB opened their branches in Kells, County Meath on Saturday to provide a service to customers after their external ATMs were stolen the previous week.
Both opened from 10am-4pm and Bank of Ireland confirmed that plans to replace it’s ATM are ‘well underway’.
RGDATA which represents over 4,000 independent family-owned grocery shops, convenience stores, forecourt stores and supermarkets, including some with external ATMs, says it believes that all ATMs, “should have tracking devices and these should be installed by the banks that own the machines.”
It’s spokesperson said: “The independent community retailers that RGDATA represents are dealing with crime every day in their stores and have huge concerns that unless shoplifting and fraud are tackled head-on by the Gardaí and the courts we will continue to see these criminal elements moving on to more audacious theft like what is happening with this spate of ATM robberies.”
“Many of our members have in-store ATMs and we follow advice from the Gardaí about safety and security when filling them, where they are positioned in the store and how they are stocked.”