Two men have been sentenced after stealing thousands of pounds from cash machines in a series of ram raids across the eastern region, including one in Gamlingay.
Tony Smith, 19, of Schole Road, Willingham, and Charlie Oakley, 26, of George Street, Shefford, Bedfordshire, were sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court on November 7.
Oakley received a six-year prison sentence after admitting to a number of the ram raids, while Smith was handed a five-year sentence in a youth offenders institute. The duo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle in relation to a number of ram raids to steal cash machines across the region, which netted the thieves almost £300,000.
As part of the audacious crime spree in March and April 2018, they also stole a number of vehicles such as Land Rovers and Audis, which were used to ram into the stores and as used as get-away cars.
In total there were eight ram raids across seven different counties, and a total of 24 offences.
Each ATM contained thousands of pounds of cash and the raids caused more than £250,000 of damage to the businesses. None of the cash has been recovered.
The men were arrested in April by officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) during a failed attempt to steal a cash machine from a store in Isleham, Cambridgeshire.
Detective inspector Trevor Davidson, who led the investigation for ERSOU on behalf of forces across the eastern region, said: “This ruthless cross-border crime blitz saw hundreds of thousands of pounds being stolen, not to mention the significant amount of damage caused to the businesses affected, and the multiple vehicles stolen from innocent people across the region.
“This was a incredibly complex investigation due to the large number and geographical span of the offences, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of our officers, and the close working with forces in seven different counties, we have been able to bring these criminals to justice.
“ERSOU is committed to tackling serious and organised criminals and we’re pleased to have been able to put these men behind bars, preventing any future offending from them, and hopefully sending a warning to others that you will not get away with this type of offending in the eastern region.”
A 17-year-old, from Market Harborough, has also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to burgle charge in relation to the same series of ram raids and will be sentenced later on this month.
The ram raids
March 3 Co-op, Church Street, Gamlingay. A Land Rover was used to ram the store and remove the ATM machine.
March 20 - – Co-op, Main Road, Long Bennington, Lincolnshire. A stolen Daihatsu 4x4 was used to steal an ATM.
April 2 - – Aldi, Bonds Lane, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. A stolen Land Rover and Audi were used in a bid to steal the ATM, on this occasion the attempt was unsuccessful.
April 2 – The Guineas Shopping Centre, Newmarket. An Audi and stolen Land Rover were used to steal an ATM.
April 4 – Premier Shop, Irthlingborough Road, Finedon, Northamptonshire. Offenders used a Land Rover to pull the shutters off the store before stealing an ATM containing.
April 6 – Co-op, High Street, Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire. A number of offenders wearing balaclavas and boiler suits arrive in a stolen Land Rover and steal a cash machine.
April 16 - One Stop, Feltwell, Thetford, Norfolk. Offenders arrive at the store using two stolen Audis and use a disc cutter to gain entry to the shop, before stealing an ATM.
April 17 – Co-op, West Street, Isleham, Cambridgeshire. Offenders in the process of stealing an ATM are disturbed by police and fee from the scene. the 17-year-old, Oakley and Smith are subsequently arrested.