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Sunday 15 September 2019

Cross-Border gang suspected over theft of ATM using digger

  

The scene of the robbery at a Bank of Ireland branch in Ballybay, Co Monaghan. Picture: Frank McGrath
The scene of the robbery at a Bank of Ireland branch in Ballybay, Co Monaghan. Picture: Frank McGrath

Robin Schiller and Ian Begley

Gardaí are investigating if a cross-Border crime group used a digger to rip an ATM from a bank's wall.

The brazen raid was carried out by a three-man gang at a Bank of Ireland in Ballybay, Co Monaghan, at around 3am yesterday.

A digger was towed to the scene by a tractor and trailer, while a large SUV with a trailer was used to remove the ATM from the scene.

It is believed that up to €100,000 was taken during the raid. The tractor was set alight at the scene.

Gardaí are probing whether the raid was carried out by a cross-Border gang which has carried out similar raids involving heavy machinery across the country.

The mob, led by a convicted criminal from the North aged in his 50s, is well known to gardaí and the PSNI.

Sources last night told the Irish Independent that investigations into the robbery were at an early stage but that the cross-Border gang was "high up" on the suspects list.

"It is still early days in the inquiry but the way in which this crime was carried out points to a certain criminal gang, who operate on both sides of the Border," a source revealed.

The leader of the gang has previously served a lengthy jail term in Belgium after he was convicted over a multi-million-euro stolen-machinery ring.

The gang, which sources say is made up of around 10 individuals, has been previously suspected of similar crimes along the Border and in Munster.

In April 2015, a bungling effort to use a digger to pull an ATM from a bank in Castleblayney ended with the gang leaving empty-handed.

Irish Independent

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