DETECTIVES ARE appealing for witnesses and information following the theft of an ATM in Dungiven, Co. Derry.
The cash machine was stolen from outside a Centra and Go Petrol Station on the Foreglen Road near Dungiven in the early hours of Sunday morning, April 7th.
The thieves used a digger from a nearby building site to rip the machine from the wall at the side of the shop, leaving substantial damage to the building in the process.
The stolen ATM was dumped inside a van which was driven away from the scene. The digger was left at the scene of the theft.
Anyone owning heavy machinery is being urged to ensure it is safely secured at night.
Detective Inspector Richard Thornton said: "I want to appeal to anyone who was in the area and who may have witnessed the theft, or who saw the digger being driven to the scene, to contact us.
“I would also appeal to anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the last few days in the area to call us.
“If you have information which could assist our investigation please, pick up the phone and call detectives on 101, quoting reference number 357 of 07/04/19."
The raid lasted less than five minutes, after which masked men drove off in a car with the ATM placed in a hole cut in the roof.
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Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.
The theft is the eighth ATM theft this year
Detective Inspector Thornton added: "As in all of these ATM thefts, the actions of these criminals have not only caused immediate financial harm to the business targeted, but they have understandably caused fear in the community and impacted upon a vital service many local people rely on.
“We are doing all we can to catch the people responsible – it is a key priority for us – however, I want to reiterate that the key to stopping these crimes and getting ahead of these criminals is information from the public.
“We need people to report anything suspicious, including seeing any unusual activity or people in areas close to ATMs. For example, if you hear machinery late at night or in the early hours please let us know. If you see any cars being driven in a suspicious manner close to where ATMs are located, please let us know.
“No matter how insignificant you think it is, call us and we will investigate. It could be key to catching the criminals responsible.”