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great escape Bank robbers dug 80ft tunnel to steal ATM cash – but had to leave empty-handed


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Would-be bank robbers dug an 80ft tunnel to an ATM and escaped with no cash and left their tools behind.

People in Naas, Co Kildare, have compared the botched heist to Hollywood movies such as Ocean’s Eleven and The Great Escape.

A Garda spokesperson said: “Gardaí are investigating an attempted burglary that occurred at a business premises on the Sallins Road in Naas, Co Kildare.

“The exact date of the incident is not known at this time. The scene is currently preserved for a technical examination.”

The attempted ATM robbery was discovered when the Ulster Bank cash machine was being removed to be replaced by another ATM.

The bank is set to leave Ireland and contractors carrying out the manual work found the 80ft tunnel right underneath the old ATM.

A source revealed the thieves had attempted to penetrate the steel ATM but when they were unable to, they left the scene.

However, they also left their tools behind and now these are being examined by forensic officers with a view to finding their DNA.

This may be unlikely, as it is believed the tunnel could have been in the ground for months, if not years.

Councillor Bill Clear told KFM: “When they went in to take out the machine and put in a new one from another bank, they noticed the tunnel.

“It’s like something you’d see out of Ocean’s Eleven.”

Another local man said: “It’s bizarre that no one saw this going on. It would have been some activity to dig a tunnel of that size. It would have taken time. It really is like a Hollywood movie.”

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Ulster Bank has been contacted for comment.

There has been a series of ATM robberies in recent years. In 2019, Ron Delnevo, the European director of the ATM Industry Association, said ATM robberies were a real issue which could result in cash machines being taken from some communities.

He asked at that time for the public to alert authorities if they saw diggers or other vehicles moving around ATMs at unusual times.

And he suggested community watch schemes being set up to monitor ATMs.

However, he also added that far below 50pc of cases saw thieves making away with cash. Some ATMs are filled with dye to prevent the cash being used by thieves.

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