Hazzard condemns attempted ATM theft in Ballynahinch
Sinn Féin South Down general election candidate Chris Hazzard has condemned those responsible for an attempted robbery of an ATM in Ballynahinch.
Chris Hazzard MP said: “I condemn this attempted robbery of an ATM causing substantial damage to the building and bringing major disruption with main roads in the area closed down.
“This is the latest in a spate of robberies of this kind in recent months across the country, and more must be done to tackle this wanton criminality.
“I would call on the public to remain vigilant, particularly with regard to the movement of heavy machinery at night and to report anything suspicious.
“Anyone with any information should bring it forward to the PSNI to help catch those responsible.”
Police Appeal For Information – Three Arrested.
Detectives investigating the attempted theft of an ATM machine in Ballynahinch yesterday (Monday 18th November) have made three arrests.
Detective Inspector Handley said: “We have arrested three men aged 24, 25 and 26-years old. All three men were arrested in the Saintfield area on suspicion of burglary (non dwelling), criminal damage endangering life with intent and aggravated vehicle taking causing damage to property. They all remain in custody at this time assisting us with our enquiries.
“The attempted ATM theft in Ballynahinch yesterday caused serious damage to the petrol station, which will have a significant economic impact on the business. A vital community resource that allows people to access cash instantly has also been impacted.
“The incident also had a widespread impact on the public as the Belfast Road was closed until yesterday evening. I want to thank the community for their patience as we conducted our enquiries and worked to keep people safe.
“I would continue to appeal to anyone who see any suspicious activity to please report it. Time is of the essence in catching these criminals.”
Anyone with information about either of these incidents is asked to call detectives on 101, quoting reference number 181 of 18/11/19.
Information can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.
DI Handley assed: “In the first report this morning (Monday 18th November) made to police at 5.28am, it was reported a bulldozer was being used in an attempt to rip an ATM machine from the wall of a petrol station on the Belfast Road, Ballynahinch. A silver-coloured Volkswagen Passat car with a trailer was also reported at the scene.
“Those involved in the attempted theft were reported to have fled the scene, empty handed, but having caused substantial damage to the premises, and to the roof of the forecourt.
“At approximately 6.55am we received a report of a car, matching the description of the Passat reported at the scene, on fire in the Queens Park area of Saintfield.
“I want to appeal to anyone who was travelling on the Belfast Road this morning, between 5:15am and 5:30am, and who saw a Silver Passat, or who believes they saw this car travelling towards Saintfield between 5.30am and 7am to get in touch with us. Did you capture footage of this vehicle on your dash cam? If you saw any suspicious activity, including vehicles or persons, in these areas this morning please, pick up the phone and tell us what you know.
“This was a brazen and despicable attack by those involved who have caused serious disruption to the business affected and to its customers. This attack has also caused widespread disruption to people using the Belfast Road, which remains closed as we continue with our enquiries.
“In a separate incident, reported to us around 7.55am, a member of staff arrived at their workplace on Saintfield Road in Belfast to discover entry had been forced to the premises and an ATM machine that had been taken. We believe this occurred sometime between Friday evening (15th November) and the time it was reported to us. I would appeal to anyone who saw anything suspicious in this area to please contact us.
“ATM theft and attempted theft is not a victimless crime and these attacks cause untold loss and disruption to people and businesses, many of whom depend on their local ATM provision for access to cash. I want to take this opportunity to urge people to continue to be vigilant, and report any suspicious activity they see in their area.
“If your suspicions are aroused phone police immediately. Time is of the essence in catching these criminals. No matter how insignificant you think it is, your phone call to us could be key to catching the criminals responsible.”
Update: Wednesday 20th November 2019.
Detectives investigating the attempted theft of an ATM machine in Ballynahinch have charged a man, aged 26, to appear before Newtownards Magistrates’ Court this morning (Wednesday 20th November).
The man has been charged with burglary (non dwelling), criminal damage endangering life with intent, aggravated vehicle taking causing damage to property and theft.
As is normal procedure, the charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.
A 25-year-old man arrested on suspicion of offences as part of the investigation remains in custody assisting police with enquiries, while a 24-year-old man has been released on bail pending further enquiries.