WITH two ATM cash machines having been targeted by thieves in the district in recent times, police have been urged to ‘redouble’ their efforts to catch the ‘thugs’ involved and bring them to justice.
In the early hours of Sunday, the latest incident unfolded as the Spar shop in Killyclogher was targeted by criminals who attempted to rip an ATM out of the wall using a stolen telehandler which was then set alight. Fortunately, neighbours of the shop confronted the criminals, who fled the scene empty-handed.
While the thieves were unsuccessful on this occasion, the crime was a carbon copy of an incident just before Christmas, where an ATM was stolen from Hegarty’s Supervalu store in Fintona - similarly using stolen plant machinery which was then burnt.
Police in Omagh have said they are currently investigating a number of lines of enquiry in relation to the latest crime, and have appealed for information about a dark-coloured Volkswagen Passat which travelled towards Cookstown on Sunday.
Speaking on the ordeal, the Killyclogher shop owner, Kieran McGinn, praised the “quick response” of neighbours.
“We have very good, vigilant neighbours who came out and alerted the police and myself,” he said. “The police and fire service were very quickly on the scene. Another few minutes and the thieves would have had the machine – but fortunately we had a very quick response from all involved.
“I have to praise our vigilant, good neighbours. For us it’s business as usual and we hope over the next couple of days to have the ATM up and going again.”
According to Mr McGinn, an alert community is the best deterrent for thieves.
“Peoples alertness is the best deterrent for these kinds of crimes. If people saw a digger at three o’clock in the morning it would be common sense to ring the police. No one is going digging at four o’clock in the morning! Killyclogher is a growing area and a vital part of our community. The ATM is essential and we all depend on it now.
Full story in this week's Tyrone Constitution newspaper ...