police PSNI

Criminals have set fire to a digger on a forecourt in Northern Ireland after using it to rip out and steal an ATM.

Detectives are appealing for information and witnesses following the theft of the ATM from the filling station on the Portadown Road, Richhill, which caused serious damage to the building.

Detective inspector Darren Handley said: “A report was received shortly after 4.45am on Tuesday morning, 20th December of suspicious activity in the area.

“On the arrival of officers, a digger was located on fire and a built-in cash machine had been stolen from the premises, causing substantial damage to the building.

“Our colleagues from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended and extinguished the fire.” Officers believe the digger was stolen from a site a short distance away.

He added: “Two men were observed wearing dark clothing as they placed the ATM into a trailer and then set fire to the digger before leaving in a white van towards the Portadown Road.

“We have since recovered the van, trailer and ATM on the Moy Road and a full investigation is now under way to determine the circumstances surrounding this theft.

“I am appealing to anyone who was in the area between 4.30am and 4.45am and saw what happened, or who has information which could assist our investigation to call us.

“In particular, I am appealing to anyone who saw a white van towing a trailer in the Portadown Road and Moy Road areas to get in touch with detectives by calling 101, quoting reference 183 of 20/12/22.”

Alternatively, information can also be provided by calling the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.