Lull in ATM thefts welcomed, but retailers urged to remain vigilant

Retail body warns of copycats and amateurs who think stores are easy targets

The scene in Dungiven, Co Derry, after a cash machine was ripped from a wall and stolen in the latest of a spate of ATM thefts. Photograph: David Young/PA

The scene in Dungiven, Co Derry, after a cash machine was ripped from a wall and stolen in the latest of a spate of ATM thefts. Photograph: David Young/PA

 

A leading retail body has welcomed the lull in ATM thefts in the North but says its members, who are counting the cost of the raids to the tune of more than £1 million, must remain vigilant.

There were 17 ATM thefts in total, with 15 of them occurring since the start of 2019.

So far, £56,000 and eight ATMs have been recovered by officers, 52 searches have been carried out and 19 arrests have been made linked to the crime wave which is thought to have netted organised crime gangs a vast sum of money.

A specialist PSNI team tasked with investigating 17 ATM thefts since October 2018 remains in place, a police spokesman has confirmed.

Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts welcomed the progress made in tackling ATM thefts but says the sector is not being complacent.

He said there had been good police work, but he urged the public to remain vigilant.

“There is the danger of copycats and amateurs who think our members’ stores are easy targets.

“There hasn’t been an attack throughout May so ‘touch wood’ that continues, but we still need to be vigilant.”

Mr Roberts says everyone has a role to play, including the construction industry in securing its sites and diggers.

It is thought a number of factors are influencing the current lull in thefts, including the police arrests, perpetrators lying low because of the attention on the crime wave and improved security measures by the construction industry and the banks.

“I don’t want to get into the detail but security aspects have been re-examined, that has to be part of the solution,” Mr Roberts said.

Mr Roberts said Retail NI’s membership of more than 2,000 independent retailers in the North, including in Border areas, remains on high alert and will not be complacent.

“We reckon there has been over £1 million of damage done and that is a conservative figure,” he said.

“It has had an impact on insurance and of course the transaction charges for machines and access to cash for the public in rural areas is something we continue to work on and have to correct. We have a long way to go to get these problems sorted,” he added.

Since the spate started in October 2018, 17 ATM machines have been stolen:

27/10/2018 - Templepatrick Road, Ballyclare, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim

22/12/18 - Tattymoyle Road, Fintona, Omagh, Co Tyrone

01/02/2019 - Supermarket, Ballymena Road, Co Antrim

02/02/19 - Supermarket, Glenavy Road, Moira, Co Antrim

15/02/19 - Service Station, Killyclogher Rd, Omagh, Co Tyrone

10/03/19 - Service Station, Ballygawley Rd, Dungannon, Co Tyrone

22/03/19 - Bank, Mallusk Rd, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim

24/03/19 - Service station, Dromore Road, Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh

01/04/19 - Shop, 2 Brook Street, Ahoghill, Co Antrim

07/04/19 - Service Station, Feeney Road, Dungiven, Co Derry

16/04/19 - Coffee shop, Main Street, Bushmills, Co Antrim

16/04/19 - Supermarket, Main Street, Crumlin, Co Antrim

26/04/19 - Tesco, Larne Link Road, Ballymena, Co Antrim

30/04/19 - Filling station, Tully Road, Nutts Corner, Co Antrim

Source: PSNI