Burning van ‘a link to Donaghmore ATM robbery’

The scene at Backford Stores in Donaghmore, in which an ATM was ripped from a wall at the premises.
The scene at Backford Stores in Donaghmore, in which an ATM was ripped from a wall at the premises.

DETECTIVES investigating an incident in which a cash machine was ripped from a wall outside shops in Donaghmore, believe a van found on fire in Moy, may be linked to the robbery.

Police are also continuing to probe whether a heavy duty forklift truck discovered close to the scene of the ATM theft was used by the culprits.

The van has been removed from the Charlemont area of Moy for forensic examination.

Substantial damage was caused to a unit of shops at Backford Stores on the Pomeroy Road in Donaghmore as a result of the incident, which occurred during the early hours of Wednesday.

Police remained at the scene for most of the day after receiving a report about the incident around 7am.

Meanwhile, politicians have been united in their condemnation of what has been described as an attack on the local community.

Sinn Fein councillor for the area, Mickey Gillespie, described the incident as “deplorable” and said adjacent businesses within the unit had been forced to close as detectives maintained a crime scene.

Cllr Gillespie told the TIMES: “This was the only ATM which was open 24 hours a day for people in the Donaghmore, Pomeroy and Galbally areas so this will have a detrimental impact for those wanting to use the service.

“Also, there is the whole knock-on effect to the two businesses beside the cash machine here which have had to lose a day’s trade as a result of this.

“The amount of damage that has been caused to the property is incredible and I would appeal to anyone who has any information about this to bring it to the police.”

SDLP representative, Cllr Jim Cavanagh, meanwhile, said: “This is a dreadful thing to have happened. This lawlessness has to be combated, not just by the police but the entire community.”

Maurice Morrow, DUP MLA, said: “I would be very suspicious that there is a paramilitary connection, however, we cannot be absolutely sure.

“We went through a spate of this a few years ago and here we are in the small village of Donaghmore where criminals feel quite at ease to come and take an ATM out of a wall without hindrance.

“This incident reinforces what we have been saying for a long time, that we need a more visible police presence.”

Ulster Unionist councillor, Kenneth Reid, called on police to carry out routine patrols close to locations which have cash machines and urged the general public to come forward with any information about the incident.