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Co Armagh ATM raid accused refused bail in High Court

An explosive raid on an ATM in Hamiltonsbawn last year is being examined by the European law enforcement Europol agency as part of an investigation being conducted into an alleged organised crime gang.

The information was revealed in the High Court in Belfast today (Wednesday) when a man accused of involvement in the raid at the Costcutter store was denied bail.

Prosecution counsel Conor Maguire claimed police had evidence the 38-year-old accused had flown into Northern Ireland just before last June’s robbery and had been planning to fly out again immediately afterwards.

The accused is a Romanian national, Gratian-Ioan Pinter, whose address was given at Balbriggan in County Dublin.

He faces four charges – two charges of criminal damage, one of attempted theft and another of causing an explosion likely to endanger life.

The Irish Times reports that pan-continental law enforcement agency Europol is organising meetings between member states of the EU which are examining similar explosive raids on ATMs.

The information was disclosed during the course of new details presented today by prosecutors.

No money was stolen during the attempted theft at Hamiltonsbawn but cash and equipment were destroyed.

The Irish Times reports that Pinter was later arrested and allegedly linked by evidence from the gang’s suspected getaway car. Detectives also believe a similar method was employed during another cash machine raid in Carrickmore, where a substantial sum was stolen.

The newspaper also reports prosecution arguments that Pinter allegedly came to Northern Ireland in breach of bail conditions imposed in Spain for similar alleged offences.

Defence counsel had told the court that Pinter had not been barred from leaving Spain on the condition that he returned to sign bail.

Defence said his client had come to Dublin for the birthday of a co-accused and friend, who is also a Romanian national.

High Court judge Mr Justice Treacy refused bail.

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