A 43-year-old man who used a stolen digger to smash an ATM containing over €124,000 from a bank wall in Co Sligo has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

Bernard Quigley was found guilty yesterday of stealing the ATM from the Bank of Ireland branch in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo on 29 January 2014.

Imposing the sentence at Sligo Circuit Court Judge Comerford said the crime was "an affront and an attack on the sanctity of an Irish town".

Judge Comerford said while it was a very serious offence he was taking into account the fact there was no violence and no firearms used in the theft.

It was "a less serious offence than someone going into a bank with a gun or a weapon and threatening staff", he said.

During the 17-day-trial trial the jury heard a stolen Komatsu digger was used to rip the ATM from the wall and load it onto a trailer.

The ATM fell off almost immediately after the culprits drove away from the bank at speed.

All of the money in the ATM was recovered by gardaí however it cost €40,000 to repair the bank wall and restore the ATM.

Quigley's DNA was found at four locations and on three vehicles connected with the theft as well as on the handles of the stolen digger.

Bernard Quigley

Gardaí traced Quigley through a Done Deal advertisement for a low-loader used in the raid.

Quigley, a father of six with an address at Branchfield, Drumfin, Co Sligo, denied the three charges in connection with the theft.

The final two years of the sentence were suspended and it was backdated to Quigley’s arrest in August 2014.