Thieves used a stolen digger to rip an ATM from the wall of a Co Tyrone filling station and then set the vehicle on fire.
The incident occurred at Cabragh Filling Station on the Ballygawley Road near Dungannon shortly after four o’clock this morning.
Detective Inspector Trevor Stevenson said: “Thieves used a digger to remove the built in cash machine from a filling station on the Ballygawley Road at around 4:15am, causing substantial damage to the building.
“We believe the digger was stolen from a business a short distance away, which caused damage. The digger was set alight at the scene immediately after the theft.
“I am appealing to anyone who was in the area between 4am and 4:15am and saw what happened, or who has information which could assist our investigation to call us.
“In particular, I am appealing to anyone who saw a jeep-type vehicle towing a trailer in the Gortlenaghan Road/Ballygawley Road areas around these times to get in touch with detectives in Omagh CID by calling 101, quoting reference 340 of 10/03/19.”
A spokesperson for the NI Fire and Rescue Service said two crews from Dungannon were tasked to the incident at around 4:30am.
She said firefighters extinguished the burning digger and the incident was dealt with shortly after 5:30am.
The incident is the latest in a spate of cash machine thefts across Northern Ireland in recent months, many of which have occurred in rural areas.
A delegation from Retail NI , which represents many independent retail businesses across Northern Ireland, recently met with senior police officers at Musgrave Station to discuss the impact such crimes have on local retailers and communities.
The organisation has warned that if the ongoing robberies and other factors aren’t addressed “many rural areas of Northern Ireland could become ATM free zones.”