Police in the North have recovered two ATMs after they were stolen from a Ballymena supermarket in the early hours of this morning.

The PSNI said a police patrol spotted them being driven away from the scene on the Larne Link Road.

Officers followed the raiders, who were in a pick-up type vehicle, and the cash machines were abandoned on the Woodside Road.

A tractor and digger used to remove the cash machines were set on fire at the supermarket.

It was the latest in a series of cash machine robberies, with at least 17 ATMs being stolen on both sides of the border in recent months.

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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