Latest ATM cash raid was work of 'cross-border gang with two SUVs'
Gardai investigating the theft of cash in an ATM raid believe a cross-border gang may have been responsible and could have used two SUVs to make good their escape.
The cash was taken on Saturday morning from the Bank of Ireland machine on Main Street, Dunleer, Co Louth.
Despite the theft, the bank has said that the branch will reopen this morning.
The external ATM was destroyed in the raid around 3.20am when a digger, stolen from the Hackballscross area of Louth, was used to cut it from the external wall.
The digger was taken to Dunleer on a stolen flatbed trailer. It is the latest in a series of such raids in the border region in last 18 months.
A garda source said the force was interested in two Toyota SUVs - one was silver in colour and had a long wheelbase, the other black with a short wheelbase. Both are believed to have headed north from Dunleer following the raid.
"Gardai believe those responsible left the scene in a silver Toyota Land Cruiser with a partial registration of 04-MH heading north of Dunleer," a garda spokesman said.
"Gardai are appealing for any person who saw this vehicle or knows the whereabouts of the vehicle to contact them at Drogheda Garda Station (041 987 4200), the Garda Confidential Line (1800 666 111) or any garda station."
They also appealed for anyone who was in Dunleer between 3am and 4am on Saturday and "who saw anything unusual, and to any road users with camera footage, to make contact".
"Gardai are also appealing to any person who saw any suspicious vehicles in the Dundalk area at this time," the spokesman added.
A spokesperson for the bank said that it would be replacing the ATM, the only street cash machine in Dunleer, which is a short drive from the M1 motorway between Dundalk and Drogheda.
An additional internal ATM will be installed later in the week, "which will provide improved facilities for customers."
The perceived vulnerability of the ATM - on the main street of a rural town - led to it being regularly patrolled by gardai. It is understood that an armed patrol had checked on it just a few hours before the crime took place.
There are a number of CCTV systems in place on different premises along Main Street.
As a result of the incident, the street was closed for most of Saturday with traders - including Hand's butchers - suffering a loss in trade.
Larry Hand said: "Saturday is the busiest day in the butchers.
"It is a disgrace. It was sticking out a mile that it would happen in a little town like this. That is what they are targeting the whole time."
He added it would not have a lasting effect on the people of Dunleer, saying: "We are hardy."
"It is some years since the last major incident involving the bank being robbed and people are undoubtedly shocked and surprised as this kind of incident hits the headlines," Parish priest Fr Michael Murtagh, said.