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Co Wexford man arrested in England over spate of ATM thefts in NI which saw £250k stolen

Christian Nicola, with an address in Co Wexford, was arrested in Hull by detectives from the PSNI’s Organized Crime Branch on Wednesday.

The 42-year-old appeared before Dungannon Magistrates’ Court today charged with 35 offenses relating to multiple burglaries and attempted ATM thefts over a four-week period earlier this year.

The burglaries stole a total of £261,320.

Following his arrest, Nicola was returned to Northern Ireland and detained for questioning in connection with ATM thefts in Articlave, Dungannon, Portadown, Poyntzpass, Irvinestown, Derrylin, Coleraine, Ballymena and Dungiven in February and March.

Nicola is accused of breaking into premises in Dungiven and stealing £43,640, damaging lights, sensors, satellite cables and an ATM vault between February 6 and 7.

On February 15, it was also alleged he entered a shop in Articlave and stole £71,250 as well as damaging lights and satellite cables.

On February 24, Nicola was accused of breaking into a store in Dungannon and stealing £93,850 in cash as well as damaging an ATM, a wire fence and satellite cable.

The next alleged incident occurred on March 3, when Nicola was accused of entering a Portadown petrol station and stealing £52,300, also damaging an ATM, a wire fence and telephone and satellite cables .

Nicola is also accused of entering a filling station in Irvinestown on March 9 with intent to steal, damaging lights, fencing, satellite cables, ATMs and bunkers.

The following day, March 10, it is also alleged that Nicola broke into a store in Poyntzpass and stole £280 in cash, damaging ATMs, lights, fencing and satellite cables.

The matter was transferred to March 14, when Nicola was charged with entering a store in Derrylin with intent to steal, damaging ATMs and bunkers, fencing, satellite and telephone cables and projection systems. Street lighting belongs to the Department of Infrastructure.

Finally, on March 29, Nicola was charged with attempting to break into stores in Coleraine and Cushendall with the intention of stealing and damaging fuel metering cables at a service station in Ballymena.

After the charges were read, a detective constable told Dungannon Magistrates’ Court that all the matters were possibly related.

Defense lawyer Patrick Taggart advised that there would be no application for bail at this stage.

District Judge Michael Ranaghan remanded Nicola in custody to appear via video link later this month.


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