Brazen thieves used a digger to rip a cash machine from the wall of O’Kane’s Filling Station on Feeny Road outside Dungiven – the ninth such theft in the North of Ireland this year.
Footage of the weekend’s incident shows a gang of masked men approaching the ATM in the digger and tearing it from the wall of the filling station, causing significant damage.
The cash machine is then placed in a Citroen Berlingo van, via a hole cut in its roof, before the thieves make off with thousands of pounds in cash.
The entire incident lasts just over four minutes.
A total of nine ATMs have been stolen in eight separate incidents across Northern Ireland this year, with the police stepping up their surveillance of cash machines in a bid to catch those responsible.
In a post on social media, however, an officer at PSNI Craigavon said police simply can’t predict which cash machine would be targeted next.
“I could sit for hours at an ATM but no sooner am I round the corner than a team of crooks arrive,” the officer said.
“The idea that we can watch them 24/7 is pure fiction.”
Shop owner Martin O’Kane surveyed the damage from behind a police cordon on Sunday afternoon.
“The men who did this are just scumbags,” he said.
“There are going to be less and less ATMs about now because of these attacks. There is one basically happening every week now.
“I probably won’t get another cash machine in again – and that will be the local community losing out.”
A special police task force set up to probe the spate of ATM thefts hope the latest raid will have gleaned some forensic clues to the gang.
It is the first time in any of the nine incidents that the stolen digger was not set on fire.
CSI teams dressed in white forensic suits yesterday combed the cab for any DNA clues to the driver involved in the dead of night raid.Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said words failed to describe his anger after the latest incident.
“Yet again a local independent retailer, who provides an invaluable service to the local community, is awakened from his sleep to be told his business is smashed up and ATM stolen,” he said.
“The gangsters behind these attacks are systematically targeting independent retailers. Our members in every part of Northern Ireland feel under siege, and are asking themselves if they will be next”
“I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Chief Constable and the Chair of the Policing Board to discuss this crisis and what further can be done.”