POLICE have recovered two ATMs after they were removed from the Tesco supermarket on Larne Road Link in Ballymena early this morning.
Officers were alerted to the theft at around 3am.
A nearby police patrol responded and spotted the ATMs being driven away from the area on the back of a pick-up type vehicle. They followed and subsequently located the vehicle abandoned on the Woodside Road.
A tractor and digger used to remove the cash machines were set alight at supermarket.
Detective Chief Inspector David Henderson said: “The recovered ATMs will now be examined for any forensic evidence they might yield.
“On this occasion the quick response of the police patrol was able to force the thieves to abandon their vehicles and the ATMs and they have fled empty-handed.
“It is likely that the digger and tractor involved were stolen however no reports of such machinery being stolen have been received as yet.
“I want to reassure the public that we continue to do everything that we can to try stop these attacks and catch those responsible.
“We have dedicated an increased the amount of resources to tackling this issue including actively patrolling ATM sites day and night.
“However, the reality is that these attacks are carried out across a wide geographical area and we cannot be present at every ATM location all of the time. We really need the public to help us and report anything suspicious, as a number of people did in Ballymena this morning.
“I would ask for anyone with any information to contact us on 101 quoting reference 121 26/04/19. Let us know if you saw anything or know anything that could help us identify those responsible.”
North Antrim Traditional Unionist Voice MLA Jim Allister said: “While it is welcome that another audacious ATM theft in the Ballymena area has been thwarted to the extent that the police recovered the machines, the obvious question to which I will be expecting an answer to is how were the robbers able to escape?
“If the police caught up with them, were there not enough personnel available to fully deal with the situation?
“These robberies require a vigorous and fully manned response.”