TWO cash machines stolen in an overnight raid have been recovered by police.

The theft happened on the Larne Link Road in Ballymena where thieves ripped the two machines from a Tesco.

Police received a report of the incident at around 3 am after a pick-up type vehicle loaded with the cash machines was spotted fleeing.

The PSNI say 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,” said a police spokesperson.

It now brings to 12 the number of cash machines which have been stolen in 10 incidents in Northern Ireland in the first four months of 2019.

A tractor and digger were used to remove the cash machines in Ballymena, with both vehicles later set alight at the scene.

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.”

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