Gardaí investigating the theft of two cash machines in County Meath overnight said home-made spikes deployed by the gang outside Kells Garda Station did not affect the response time.
Gardaí say they responded immediately when they learnt of a double ATM robbery in progress in Kells, Co. Meath.
Gardaí are appealing for witnesses. They are urging farmers and building contracters as well as heavy machine owners to be utterly vigilant in the wake of such repeated attacks.
The incident occurred at 4.20am when a digger, which was stolen from the Castletown area, was used to rip ATMs out of the front walls of the Bank of Ireland and the AIB Bank both located at John Street, Kells.
In light of several 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.
Please ensure they 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.
We also appeal to members of the public who see any unusual movement of plant machinery, commercial jeeps, or pickup trucks during night time hours to report such activity immediately to An Garda Siochana.
Do not assume somebody else has already made the call. You can also contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or Crimestoppers on 1800 250 025.
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Superintendent Dermot O’Connor, Kells renewed an appeal for any persons with information regarding this crime to contact Gardaí.
“This crime is not a victimless crime and will have a significant impact on the community of Kells and the local area over this Easter Bank Holiday weekend, I appeal to the local and wider community to support An Garda Síochána and to provide any information to bring these criminals to justice”.
Anybody with information should contact Kells Garda Station on 046–9280820 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.
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Fianna Fáil European Election Candidate in the Midlands, North-West constituency and Cavan-Monaghan TD, Brendan Smith, has said the latest ATM robberies clearly demonstrate the need for targeted Garda resources to find and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Deputy Smith said, “These brazen thefts are becoming common place on both sides of the border. Last night four ATM’s in total were robbed. A tractor and digger were used to raid two ATM’s from Main Street in Kells, Co. Meath. Two further ATMs were taken in counties Antrim and Armagh.
“This gang is striking fear into the hearts of small shop owners who may have an ATM on their premises and also farmers whose machinery is being targeted to carry out these acts of thuggery. They are operating on both sides of the border and leaving a trail of destruction behind them.
Villages are being left with local stores closed and the ATM facility in Castleblayney which was recently targeted won’t be back in action for some time. It’s reasonable to assume the same for the two ATM’s in Kells leaving many individuals and businesses inconvenienced.
“Senior Garda management must make finding these criminals a priority. They have clearly demonstrated that they will not stop until they are caught and brought to justice.
“I have continually highlighted in Dáil Éireann to the Justice Minister that there are unique policing demands on Garda Divisions in the border region and that additional resources, including both personnel, modern vehicles and equipment, should be allocated to such areas to deal with crime including cross border criminality,” concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.