Ballymena Court hears hundreds of thousands of pounds have been stolen in wave of ATM thefts

The scene in Antrim where ATMs were targeted on December 6 last year. Picture: McAuley Multimedia.

A COURT has heard that amounts stolen and the cost of damage caused in a wave of ATM thefts in County Antrim is over £800,000.

Details were given at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday where bail was refused to a man who police suspect is part of an “organised crime” gang.

The scene at the Tesco in Antrim on December 6. Picture: McAuley Multimedia.

 

Opposing bail a police officer listed ten ATM raids in areas including Ballyclare, Antrim, Glenavy, Mallusk, Ahoghill, Bushmills, Crumlin, Ballymena and Nutts Corner.

In some of the cases the officer outlined how much cash was in the stolen ATMs and how much damage was caused to both properties and diggers which were used in the thefts.

This was the scene at the Tesco store at Larne Road Link in Ballymena on Friday April 26 where a double ATM was targetted. Picture: Ballymena Daily.

 

The figure given to the court was at least £800,000 which included over £400,000 cash in the stolen machines.

David Edward McClurkin (35), of Templeton Park, Templepatrick, is charged with conspiracy to steal.

The scene at Bushmills when an ATM was stolen. Picture: Steven McAuley, McAuley Multimedia.

 

The charge relates to dates between October 27, 2019 – the date of the ATM theft in Ballyclare – and December 6 this year when two ATMS were stolen at Tesco in Antrim town.

The particulars of the charge are that the defendant ‘conspired with others to steal ATMs and cash and other property to an unknown value belonging to various banks and businesses’.

This was the scene following a cash machine theft in Ahoghill.

 

McClurkin had previously been remanded in custody in connection with the charge when he appeared at Limavady Magistrates Court.

He appeared via video link from prison at Ballymena Court on Thursday in connection with a bail application.

The detective constable told the court that during an interview the defendant denied involvement.

The scene following an ATM robbery at Tesco, Ballymena. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia.

 

The officer believed the defendant was part of an “active OCG (organised crime group)” and opposed bail fearing he may not return to court and may also “commit further offences”.

A defence barrister said in relation to the Crumlin ATM raid the defendant was at a wedding in Belfast and and got a taxi home and added: “That someone would attend a wedding and then engage in an ATM swipe doesn’t chime”.

The court heard there was a forensic link to McClurkin by way of DNA on a bag found in a vehicle found following the Ballymena ATM theft on April 26 this year.

The defence lawyer said McClurkin is a mechanic with his own garage and he had repaired a broken cylinder in relation to that vehicle.

The barrister said the defendant had an alibi in relation to the December 6 ATM theft in Antrim when he was at licensed premises in Belfast.

The defendant’s lawyer said there was no suggestion that those involved in the wave of thefts had used “burner” or “dirty” phones.

The police officer said: “Unusually for an organised crime group there has been usage of their own mobile phones which we were quite surprised about”.

The defence lawyer said McClurkin’s grandmother was willing to put up a £10,000 bail surety.

Refusing bail, District Judge Nigel Broderick said there had been “significant” thefts of ATMs involved large amounts of money.

He said there were “cell site analysis reports” and the defendant’s DNA was found on a bag located in a vehicle which the police allege was involved in the theft of at least two ATMs.

The judge refused bail on the grounds of a “risk of further offences” and the case was adjourned to mid-January.

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