The PSNI has arrested three men in Co Armagh after two ATM bank machines were stolen in the Republic.
The cash facilities were removewd from banks in Dundalk overnight.
The Ulster Bank and Allied Irish Band premises at Clanbrassil Street, Dundalk, were raised after 3am this morning.
It is understood a digger was used.
They set fire to vehicles in the area of Dundalk Garda Station to slow down the Gardai response but they were intercepted a time later.
They managed to cross the border into County Armagh after a chase.
But the PSNI in Co Armagh detained three men – believed to be in the Silverbridge area of South Armagh – and recovered both ATMs.
Louth TD Ruairi Ó Murchú has lashed out at those responsible.
The Sinn Féin TD said: “Last night saw a reprehensible attack on the community of Dundalk, that put the lives of frontline public servants in danger as they deal with the Covid-19 emergency.
“I was awoken by calls and messages shortly after this event and later spoke with Gardaí at the scene.
“Crime scene investigators have now arrived. The digger and truck used are still on the street and a car was also found burnt out in Deerpark, Bellurgan.
“Organised criminals will use any situation to its advantage. We as a society cannot accept that.
“I spoke with a senior Garda earlier in the week, who believed certain criminal gangs would be under the illusion that they would be able to operate without detection, but that Gardaí were prepared for this.
“I had commended them for operations that had been carried out against drug gangs during this period.”
He added: “Organised criminal gangs are a blight and a virus that are with the community all the time.
“We are facing a life and death battle with Covid-19 and criminal gangs cannot be allowed to risk lives, profiteer, cause damage and disrupt the services busy dealing with this pandemic.
“I ask anyone with information to bring it to the Gardaí and PSNI.”
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