ATM theft in Castleblayney
Gardaí have alerted digger owners and appealed for the public for help following more ATM machine thefts.
Gardaí are investigating the theft of four ATMs in Meath, Antrim and Armagh overnight. There have been 18 thefts so far this year north and south of the border.
The latest raids saw banks targeted. AIB and Bank of Ireland branches near each other in Kells, Co Meath were hit on Thursday night. Police in the north are investigating thefts in Antrim and Armagh on the same night.
Gardaí say a JCB Fastrac tractor and trailer and an excavator were found at the scene in Kells. The equipment was stolen in the Louth and Meath areas overnight. A significant amount of damage was caused to both premises.
In light of these and several other recent ATM robberies which involved the use of heavy machinery, Gardaí are appealing to anyone who owns or uses heavy plant machinery to please take every possible step to secure and immobilise your vehicles.
They want people to ensure diggers are stored securely and not left in an area that is easily accessible overnight.
"If criminal groups cannot steal diggers and other similar machinery, they cannot tear out ATMs. This will also mean that these expensive pieces of machinery are not destroyed or burnt out after they are stolen," said the warning.
Garda HQ urged the public to be alert and help.
"We also appeal to members of the public who see any unusual movement of plant machinery, commercial jeeps, or pickup trucks during nighttime hours to report such activity immediately to An Garda Siochana. Do not assume somebody else has already made the call," said a statement.
You can also contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or Crimestoppers on 1800 250 025.