The PSNI has allocated a team of detectives to investigate ATM thefts across Northern Ireland, after a spate of seven incidents in four months.
Officers are warning that attacks on ATMs cannot be seen as a “victimless crime”, given the damage to businesses and disruption to communities.
PSNI Detective Inspector Richard Thornton said: “Recently there has been an upsurge in the number of ATM machines ripped from the walls of commercial premises using plant machinery which, more often than not, has been stolen from a nearby farm or building site and then destroyed after each incident.
“The attacks tend to occur more frequently, but not exclusively, in rural areas, and are a serious cause for concern for us all.”
He added: “We have seen seven attacks in the last four months. That is seven communities suffering due to the greed of unscrupulous criminals.”
Police are appealing for machinery owners to take steps to try to prevent thefts of equipment commonly used in attacks on ATMs.
They are asking owners to immobilise vehicles and to consider fitting tracking devices and security signs to highlight measures like CCTV that may deter thieves.
“We are following a number of lines of enquiry in relation to these attacks,” DI Thornton said.
“However, I would appeal to anyone who can offer us any information which could assist us to apprehend those responsible to contact detectives on 101.
“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”