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Saturday 21 September 2019

'Fit all cash machines with trackers', urge gardai after raids

Gardai at the scene of a double ATM robbery in Kells. Picture: Collins Dublin
Gardai at the scene of a double ATM robbery in Kells. Picture: Collins Dublin

Gardai want tracking devices built into all ATMs after a spate of robberies on both sides of the Border.

Senior officers and bank officials are now studying the idea, along with other measures to beef up security at cash dispensers and make it more difficult for the gangs.

At present, only some ATMs have built-in trackers.

Officers believe a gang may have moved further south to carry out the most recent raids because of the increase in armed gang activity in the Border region.

This raises fears more towns and villages in the Republic are set to be targeted.

Officers investigating €200,000 raids on Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks machines in John Street, Kells, Co Meath, in the early hours of Good Friday have recovered a jeep and car the gang used in their getaway.

Both were discovered burnt out in a wooded area near Dunaree, Kingscourt, on the Meath-Cavan border. The vehicles were stolen in Ardee, Co Louth, over the past couple of weeks.

The burnt-out ATMs were also found after they were spotted by a local.

Escape

Investigators are now trying to define the escape route the gang used as they made their way through Co Monaghan and over the Border into south Armagh.

Officers say footage from CCTV cameras will be vital in identifying the raiders.

Apart from footage already being examined from Kells on the morning of the raids, officers are also collecting material from cameras near the location of the finds at Dunaree and the thefts of the vehicles in Ardee.

Although the suspects are known to be living north of the Border, gardai believe they had help from a local with knowledge of the area.

The two robberies were completed within four minutes and although gardai quickly gave pursuit the gang managed to escape on the maze of roads leading into Co Cavan.

Gardai say the gang is made up of criminals but some may have links to dissident republican factions.

They think the same gang was responsible for ATM robberies in Castleblayney and Ballybay, Co Monaghan, and Kingscourt, Co Cavan.

The three raids netted between €200,000 and €250,000, while more than €200,000 is now known to have been taken from the two Kells banks last Friday.

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