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Petrol station forecourt roof collapses during ATM raid

A petrol station’s forecourt roof has been torn down in an attempted ATM robbery.

Extensive damage was caused during the raid in Ballynahinch, Co Down, in the early hours of today.

It is suspected the thieves used a digger in a bid to rip the cash machine from the wall of Carlisle's filling station and convenience store in Belfast Road.

The road was closed this morning, causing major disruption to rush-hour traffic.

The attack is the third ATM raid this weekend.

On Saturday night, thieves tried but failed to steal a cash machine from Belfast City Hospital.

On Saturday morning, there was an attempted ATM theft on Main Street in Dunleer, Co Louth.

Gardaí said a "significant amount of damage" was caused and a digger and lorry were left at the scene.

Industry organisation Retail NI condemned the latest attacks.

Chief executive Glyn Roberts said: “Words fail to describe my anger at this disgraceful attempted ATM robbery on one of our members.

“This has caused extensive damage to one of Ballynahinch’s largest retailers in the run-up to Christmas.

“This is an independent retailer, who provides an invaluable service to the local community, awakened from his sleep to be told his business is smashed up.

“It is also a new low for these robbers to attack health centres to steal ATMs.

“We would urge all businesses and organisations who have external ATMs to be vigilant and urge members of the public with any information to contact the PSNI.”