Seven men have been convicted of carrying out a series of thefts and attempted thefts from cash machines throughout the UK, including one in Bury St Edmunds.
The men were convicted on Wednesday following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court and will be sentenced on April 19.
They were responsible for ATM attacks at 13 business premises (banks and supermarkets) in Merseyside, Cheshire, Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Suffolk, and Aberdeen, Perth and Carnoustie in Scotland, resulting in losses of thousands of pounds.
Barclays in Tollgate Lane, Bury, was among the businesses hit click here. The bank suffered a loss of £133,000 during the attack on November 3, 2015, as well as damage worth £16,000 to the ATM and £12,559 to the building.
Andrew White, 28, of Exeter Street, St Helens, and Nanu Miah, 28, of Sparbrook, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and were found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions; Anthony White, 26, of Kingswood, Huyton, and Michael Galea, 41, of Gregson Road, Prescot, were found guilty of the same offences; Carl Cavanagh, 33, of Barford, Huyton, and Anthony Conroy, 29, of Wavertree Vale, Wavertree, pleaded guilty to both offences and Gary Carey, 40, of Burford Road, Liverpool, was found guilty of conspiracy to cause an explosion.
In December 2015, detectives from TITAN, the Northwest Regional Organised Crime Unit, started a covert investigation into an organised crime group originating from the Merseyside area.
The crime group was thought to be responsible for causing explosions at ATMs across the country. Detectives tracked the group as they travelled around the country scoping premises with ATMs and addresses with high performance vehicles, which they would steal and use in the offences.
Evidence showed the group using a variety of cars, including high powered Audi RS4’s, RS6’s and Mercedes A45 and GLA45 AMG’s. They also stole Motorhomes to transport the equipment they used in the ATM gas attacks.
Officers even recovered a Scania lorry with a stolen trailer unit which had been converted to house a stolen RS4. It came complete with ramps so the vehicle could be loaded quickly following an offence and the men had hammocks strung up in the back.
A number of large fuel canisters (used to refuel the Audi and tractor unit) were also stored on-board to cut down on visits to petrol stations and motorway forecourts.
Other items recovered included petrol powered grinders, gas cylinders, cloned plates, tools and electrical tape. Police were able to obtain DNA profiles from various items which linked to Cavanagh, Galea, and Conroy.
Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Green, who heads up TITAN, said the men believed they were ‘untouchable’ and had used ‘dangerous’ tactics in targeting the ATMs, putting members of the public at risk.
Speaking after Wednesday’s hearing, he said: “The sentencing today is a clear message to those offenders who believe that they can avoid detection by committing crimes in different forces – we are relentless in our pursuit of criminals involved in serious organised crime and there are no borders.
“We will work with other forces up and down the country to identify those involved in serious crime to ensure we can put them before the courts and behind bars. This case is an example of painstakingly piecing together of huge amounts of complex evidence, to bring people to justice.”
He added: “These men were driven by greed. They didn’t think about the dangerous nature of what they were doing and the potential that they could cause serious and significant injuries to others through their recklessness.
“Serious organised crime seeks to undermine our safety and I am in no doubt that today’s conviction will go a long way to making our communities and streets safer places to live and work.”
Scott Pearson, 35, of Ena Crescent, Leigh, was found not guilty of burglary following the trial.