A Northern Ireland business organisation has condemned the theft of a cash machine from a service station in Co Tyrone as “a disgraceful attack” on a local retailer that “provides an invaluable service to the community”.
Retail NI, which represents many independent retail businesses across the Province, has called on the police to “redouble their efforts” in tackling such thefts.
A stolen digger was used to rip the ATM from the wall of Cabragh Filling Station on the Ballygawley Road shortly after 4am this morning.
Extensive damage was caused to the building.
The digger was then set on fire on the forecourt of the filling station.
Police are investigating and have appealed for witnesses to come forward.
The incident is the latest in a spate of ATM thefts across Northern Ireland in recent months.
Condemning the theft, Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts said: “This is yet another disgraceful attack on one of our members. It has caused extensive damage to a local retailer that provides an invaluable service to the local community.
“With five ATM robberies in the past few months, these attacks are now a major problem for local retailers. The PSNI need to redouble their efforts to put the criminal gangs behind these attacks in front of the courts.
“With so many bank branch closures in rural towns and villages in recent years, our members’ ATMs provide an invaluable service to their local communities.
“There is a real danger our members could start to remove these ATMs if these attacks continue, leaving many rural areas without the ability to access cash.”