Attempted murder on policeman investigating ATM robbery
The police are treating an attack on an officer as attempted murder after a lorry was driven into him as he investigated the theft of a cash machine in Cullyhanna, County Armagh.
The incident happened after the officer attempted to stop a suspicious lorry which was transporting a car on the Mullaghduff Road area at around 1.30pm on Friday.
The officer had been investigating an earlier ATM robbery in Camlough, 13 miles away,when he approached the suspicious low-loader lorry on foot.
The vehicle then sped directly at the officer, pinning him between the lorry and a police patrol car.
He sustained serious head injuries and was rushed to hospital by a PSNI helicopter where he remains in a serious condition in hospital.
A digger was used in the ram raid, and was left blocking the road after the robbers set it on fire.
It had earlier been stolen from a site on the Camlough Road.
At this stage the police say they believe the two incidents are not linked.
Superintendent Simon Walls said: “The constable is still undergoing medical assessment however we understand that while his injuries are serious, at this stage, they are not thought to be life threatening.
"I am sure the local community in south Armagh will join us in condemning this callous incident and in wishing him a speedy and complete recovery.
"From the accounts of those at the scene, this appears to have been a deliberate act and as such we will be treating this incident as the attempted murder of a police officer.
"We are keen to locate the driver and the lorry involved, described as low loader with a white cab, a yellow bumper, a red low loader body and carrying a white or silver vehicle."
One man has already been arrested in Drumass, County Monaghan, by police investigating the robbery.
Chair of the Policing Board, Anne Connolly: "This officer was simply doing his job but it shows the dangers our officers can face in serving the community."
Sinn Fein MLA Megan Fearon said she hopes the police officer recovers quickly, and also described how it is the second time the business that was robbed has had its ATM machine stolen.
She said: "The officer was injured in investigating the stealing of an ATM machine from a local business and sustained serious injuries and I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery.
“Not only did the criminals manage to rob the community of a much needed facility but also caused massive damage to a local business.
“I am also concerned that this ATM machine will not be replaced as it took six years to convince the providers to place the machine in the area.
“The people who carried out this criminal act have nothing to offer our community and need to stop preying on local businesses and community facilities for their own gain.”
Newry and Mourne councillor David Taylor of the Ulster Unionist Party said: “There can be no doubt the incident was a deliberate attempt to kill the Police Officer and should be condemned by all right thinking people. It is disgusting that a man serving the whole community should be mown down in the line of duty.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the injured Police Officer and wish him a speedy recovery.
“I sincerely hope that the perpetrators of this vile act will be apprehended as soon as possible. Anyone who has information about this incident should report it to the PSNI immediately so that we can get these thugs off our streets.”