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Three arrests after ATM theft in Ballynahinch

Three arrests after ATM theft at Carlisles in Ballynahinch Credit: UTV

Police investigating an attempted ATM robbery that caused the collapse of a petrol station roof have arrested three men.

Thieves used a bulldozer type vehicle stolen from a nearby quarry in a failed bid to rip the cash machine from the wall of Carlisles' filling station in Ballynahinch, Co Down,at about 5.30am on Monday.

They struck the forecourt roof with the bucket of the vehicle as they tried to flee the scene.

It was one of a series of ATM raids on both sides over the border in recent days.

The suspects- aged 24, 25 and 26 - were arrested in the Saintfield area of Co Down on Tuesday on suspicion of burglary, criminal damage endangering life with intent and aggravated vehicle taking causing damage to property.

Detective Inspector Handley said, "We have arrested three men aged 24, 25 and 26-years old. All three men were arrested in the Saintfield area on suspicion of burglary (non dwelling), criminal damage endangering life with intent and aggravated vehicle taking causing damage to property."

He continued and said, "The attempted ATM theft in Ballynahinch yesterday caused serious damage to the petrol station, which will have a significant economic impact on the business. A vital community resource that allows people to access cash instantly has also been impacted."

The Belfast Road had to be closed for sometime throughout Monday morning and drivers were advised to seek an alternative route.

Bus services – including for schools - had also been affected.

Detective Inspector Handley also thanked the community for their patience during the investigation on Monday.

In the other ATM raids, a cash machine stolen at some point over the weekend from inside a health centre at Knockbracken Healthcare Park in Saintfield Road, close to Belfast.

On Saturday night, thieves tried but failed to steal a cash machine from Belfast City Hospital.

Police in South Armagh are also investigating the theft of a Massey Ferguson tractor and low loader that were subsequently used in an attack on an ATM machine across the border at Dunleerin Co Louth.