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ATM robbers are hoods, not Robin Hoods

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Since the start of this year, 15 ATMs have been ripped from the walls by diggers in Northern Ireland, leaving behind a trail of devastation. As in all of these ATM thefts, the actions of these criminals have not only caused immediate financial harm to the business targeted, but they have understandably caused fear in the community and impacted upon a vital service many local people rely on. 

In areas where ATMs have been stolen, local people may have to travel considerable distances to find an alternative way to withdraw money and the livelihoods of the business owners who have worked for years to build up their businesses is also jeopardised. There’s also the loss of very expensive machinery, which cause delays in production, damage to the local economy and the likelihood of criminal finances being redirected back into funding further organised crime or terrorism.
 
Retail NI has held a number of meetings with the PSNI with regards to these robberies and most recently, a delegation of members met with Crime Operations Assistant Chief Constable Barbara Gray to voice their concerns over the theft of cash machines which are now at a critical level and to seek assurances that everything possible is being done to catch the criminal gangs behind the thefts, and prevent further crimes.

Since the meeting the PSNI has made a significant number of arrests.

After the meeting Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This was a productive meeting with ACC Gray and her senior officers. We greatly appreciate the dedication of her officers in their efforts to arrest the criminal gangs behind these robberies."

“Our members are being ruthlessly targeted by these criminal gangs and feel under a state of siege. As we approach the weekend Retail NI members are asking themselves if they will be next."

Glyn Roberts added:

"Retail NI is urging the general public to report anything suspicious around building sites or retailers close to ATMs. If they see a digger moving in their town or village in the middle of the night, ring 999.”

“No small business owner should ever have to face such a threat. We are urging the community as a whole to be vigilant and to stand with our members in these challenging times."

Speaking about the criminal gangs behind the ATM robberies, Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts said, "They're criminals of the worst kind that are preying on independent retailers, small businesses, businesses that represent the very best in a community and provide an invaluable service to the local community. We also need to nail the lie that these gangs are somehow Robin Hoods, they are just hoods.”
 
“Since the closure of many bank branches, the only local ATM many rural communities have, are those located at their local retail stores. We could well be facing a scenario where rural retailers will remove their ATMs which would mean customers, particularly in rural areas, would not have access to cash.”

“Unless these gangs are caught we could be looking at large parts of rural Northern Ireland being effectively cash-free zones where ATMs will be hard to find and that will hit the most vulnerable in our communities. However, recently the PSNI has made a number of significant arrests. ”