She said that cross-border policing efforts, supported by local communities and the construction industry, must be focussed on stamping out this gang or gangs.
Earlier this month thieves smashed their way into O’Kane’s petrol station outside Dungiven and ripped out an ATM machine with a stolen digger.
Sandra Duffy said: “It has become an almost daily news report in recent weeks that an ATM has been attacked and removed in both north and south of the border.
“Local shop owners are now living in constant dread that their premises may be next.
“There is a fear in places like Culmore and the neighbouring village of Muff and around the border community the potential impact all this will lead to.
“There are also fears among local communities that an innocent person could get caught up in one of these attacks and be injured or killed in the fallout.
“The criminals involved in these attacks are clearly operating on a cross-border basis.
“The response therefore must also involve a cross-border policing effort, supported by local communities and the construction industry, in order to stamp out these callous opportunists.
“As an immediate step, policing resources and personnel must be increased in these areas.
“There is a real concern among communities that these events will lead to the removal of ATM facilities from rural towns and villages, areas that have already had other services withdrawn.
“Such a move would have a detrimental effect on how people live and do business in these rural communities. Assurances must be provided by the banks that everything possible will be done to avoid such a scenario.”
Police have set up a special taxk force to try and thwart the attacks but without success.