Stolen digger used to rip ATM from bank wall, court hears

Witness says cash machine fell off trailer in Tubbercurry and had to be reloaded

A stolen digger was used to rip an ATM out of the wall of a Bank of Ireland building in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, two years ago , a jury heard on Wednesday.

Delivery man Declan Egan told Sligo Circuit Court he was driving through Tubbercurry to Sligo on January 29th, 2014, but was blocked by a digger on the road.

He said he assumed roadworks were being done but then saw the digger knocking the bank wall down. He recalled hearing a “loud bang” as an ATM safe was dropped into a trailer attached to a white van. Mr Egan called 999.

The court heard the white van took off at speed but had only travelled about 15m when the ATM fell to the road. The van then returned to recover the machine, the court heard.

Bernard Quigley, of Branchfield, Drumfin, Co Sligo; Teeling Street, Tubbercurry; and Main Street Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, has pleaded not guilty to three charges in connection with the incident

He denies dishonestly appropriating an ATM containing cash at the Bank of Ireland, Tubbercurry on January 29th, 2014. He also denies being in possession of a stolen digger, and causing criminal damage to a wall and ATM housing.

Witness Paul Murphy told the court he was in bed in his home on the same morning when his mother rang him and said “they are knocking down the bank”. He contacted gardaí, got dressed and drove towards the bank.

Fist sign

Mr Murphy said he saw a parked white van with a trailer attached. The driver, whose face was covered, made a fist sign at him. He said the ATM was lying on the road with a digger there to lift it. The digger driver, who was also masked, swung the bucket towards his car, he recalled.

Mr Murphy hit his car horn to make as much noise as he could. The digger driver made a few attempts to scoop up the ATM with the bucket before getting it into the trailer.

He decided to follow the van and was talking to gardaí on his phone while doing so. When he reached a landmark outside Tubbercurry known as McDonagh’s bridge, the van stopped and one of those travelling in it got out and ran at him with a “large instrument” in an aggressive manner, Mr Murphy said. He got a fright and reversed away.

Eileen O’Leary SC, for the prosecution, told the jury a large digger was stolen from a quarry at Chaffpool near Tubbercurry the day before the theft. She said the ATM theft was captured by CCTV cameras at a number of points in the town.

The jury heard gardaí found the white van, trailer and ATM abandoned on a country road at Carrowneden, Coolaney, not far from the scene of the theft. They keys were in the van and the lights were still on.

The trial continues.