Raiders' roadblock to stop gardai in foiled ATM heist
A gang who tried to pull an ATM machine out of a bank in the early hours of the morning had placed barriers on the road near the garda station to delay responding officers.
The incident happened at 3am today in Castleblaney, Co Monaghan.
A gang who had stolen a telescopic loader from a building site at a school just 300 metres away used it to smash through the wall of the Ulster Bank on the Dublin Road in the town.
The raiders managed to break through the wall of the bank with the machine, using it as a giant battering ram.
The noise created during the quiet of the early morning woke many in the town who quickly realised what was happening when they looked to investigate.
Gardai responding to a 999 call found their way to the bank blocked by barriers on the road.
"The raiders had an idea that they were going to have to act quickly and they made efforts slow down any garda response," a garda spokesperson said.
Having removed the roadblock, the gardai went to the scene only to see the gang fleeing in a dark grey Audi A6 car and a white Ford Transit van having abandoned their plans to steal the ATM.
The stolen loader and the ATM machine were left behind at the badly-damaged bank by the gang.
Gardai chased the van which later crossed the border nearly 10km away at Drumacon in the direction of Cullyhanna in Co Armagh.
Gardai believe the gang planned to pull the machine from the bank and load it into the Transit van before driving it to an isolated location and trying to open it.
This type of robbery has been attempted in the past in other areas of the country but has generally been unsuccessful.
This if often because the alarm is raised quickly and opening the ATM proves difficult, even if it is successfully removed.
The Castleblaney scene has been preserved for technical examination.