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Attempted theft 'Mini explosion' shocks local residents as gang attempt to steal ATM

'It is their understanding that there was an attempted ATM theft on the Ballysillan Road that resulted in a mini explosion'

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The Ballysillan Road in north Belfast. Picture: Google Maps

The Ballysillan Road in north Belfast. Picture: Google Maps

The Ballysillan Road in north Belfast. Picture: Google Maps

An attempted ATM theft led to a “mini explosion” being heard in Belfast, a local councillor has said.

DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst said he understands those responsible made off in the direction of the Ballysillan playing fields.

The PSNI has confirmed the Ballysillan Road in north Belfast, which was previously closed between Silverstream Gardens and Oldpark Road, has now reopened.

Mr Pankhurst said on social media: “I’ve spoken with police regarding the ongoing incident at the Ballysillan Road which will remain closed for the next few hours at least.

“It is their understanding that there was an attempted ATM theft on the Ballysillan Road that resulted in a mini explosion.

“Those responsible then made off towards the Ballysillan playing fields.

"It happened around 1.30am this morning.”

Police are expected to carry out an investigation, Mr Pankhurst said. 

SDLP councillor Paul Mc Cusker said the closure is affecting traffic for school runs and people going to work and is “due to an explosion at an ATM machine”.

He said: “Police are currently examining the scene and advice is to avoid the area.”

Motorists and pedestrians are being advised by officers to avoid the area and seek alternative routes.

There are also disruptions to public transport in the area. 

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Detectives in Belfast are appealing for information following an attempted theft.

Detective Sergeant Stephen Gardiner said: "Shortly after 1am police received a report of a loud bang in the area and suspicious activity close to an ATM in the Ballysillan Road area of the city.

“Officers attended and discovered a detonated suspect device close to the ATM, which has received extensive damage due to the explosion. ATO were tasked and attended. The device was made safe and removed for further examination.

"One man was seen leaving the area on foot shortly after the explosion, and he is described as approximately 5"10 in height, of medium build and dressed in dark clothing.

"The Ballysillan Road, which had been closed during the incident, has now re-opened."

Police are appealing to anyone who may have seen the suspect or who has information in relation to this incident to contact them. They are particularly keen to hear from anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the Ballysillan area, prior to and after this incident. Detectives in Belfast can be contacted on the 101 non-emergency number, by quoting 58 01/03/22.

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