Northern gang suspected as ATM stolen from Co Monaghan bank

Digger, tractor and trailer used in early morning incident on Ballybay Main Street

An ATM was taken from the wall of a Bank of Ireland in Ballybay, Co Monaghan ion the early hours of Sunday. Photograph:  Philip Fitzpatrick.

An ATM was taken from the wall of a Bank of Ireland in Ballybay, Co Monaghan ion the early hours of Sunday. Photograph: Philip Fitzpatrick.

 

Gardaí believe the theft of an ATM from a bank wall in Co Monaghan could be the work of a Northern Ireland-based gang which carried out a string of similar heists some years ago.

At about 3am on Sunday thieves towed a digger to the Main Street of Ballybay and used it to remove the ATM from the wall of a Bank of Ireland branch.

A large SUV, possibly a Toyota Land Cruiser, with a trailer then took it toward Cootehill or Carrickmacross. The tractor and the cab of the digger were set on fire at the scene. The entire operate took less than 15 minutes.

The same tactics were used by a gang who operated on both sides of the border between 2011 and 2012.

Gardaí and the PSNI believe they were behind more than a dozen ATM thefts in counties Fermanagh, Tyrone, Armagh, Cavan and Monaghan.

The gang became less active in late 2012 before seemingly stopping completely following the arrest and imprisonment of several key members for unrelated crimes. No one was ever prosecuted for the ATM thefts.

Gardaí believe several members of the gang could be involved in the Ballybay theft. They also expect more thefts of a similar nature in the near future if the group is back in action.

“The tactics certainly match as does the brazenness. They knew what they were doing,” said a garda source. “These things don’t happen in ones. We’re going to see a repeat of this soon either here or across the border.”

Gardaí had not determined how much was in the ATM when it was taken. Some high street ATMs can contain up to €100,000 when full. It is understood the machine in Ballybay was refilled on Friday but was in heavy use over a busy weekend in the lead up to Christmas.

The bank is expected to open as normal on Monday.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Carrickmacross Garda station on (042) 9690190.