Representatives of retailers in Northern Ireland have met senior police officers to discuss their concerns after a spate of ATM thefts from forecourts and other retailers’ premises.

A delegation from the Retail NI trade association met with PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) officers on Tuesday February 26, and after the meeting Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said: “This was a very useful meeting with the PSNI and we urged them to ensure that resources are put into tackling this problem. These robberies have cost our members hundreds of thousands of pounds and the criminal gangs behind them belong behind bars for a very long time.

“We are satisfied that the PSNI is taking this issue very seriously at a senior and strategic level.”

Roberts said the crimewave added to other problems affecting rural ATMs. Many rural members of Retail NI have lost rate relief on their ATMs because the Northern Ireland Assembly is currently dormant, and there has been a new added transaction charge by the main supplier of the machines.

He added: “With so many bank branch closures, our members provide an invaluable service to many rural communities to access cash with their ATMs. Unless we see a crackdown on the robberies, a restoration of the rate relief and resolution on the transaction charge, many rural areas of Northern Ireland could be ATM free zones which will have a negative impact on consumers and rural communities.”