Five men guilty of blowing up cash machines

11/07/2014

Five men have been convicted of blowing up cash machines and stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds across the North West and the Midlands.

The masterminds behind the scheme were Craig Cartwright, 39 and Kurt Beddoes, 31, who had both pleaded guilty. Ian Ellis, 30, had also pleaded guilty.

Anthony Bushell, 29 and Thomas Whittingham,  28, had denied the charges and were both found guilty at the end of the trial.

Anthony White, 24, was acquitted and the jury failed to reach a verdict on Gary Keating, 30. He will be re-tried at a later date.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the men used tactics that had previously only been used on mainland Europe to get at the cash in the machines.

They were said to have planned and prepared the raids to the last detail and used gas to blow up the machines so they could access the cash in minutes.

They used high powered stolen Audi vehicles with cloned or stolen plates, specialist tools, angle grinders and gas cutting torches in their raids.

They wore balaclavas and blacked out clothing to avoid identification and drove away from the scene of their crimes at speeds of up to 191mph.

The five men convicted were responsible for attacks on cash machines in Merseyside, Cheshire and throughout the North West. Machines in Oxfordshire and Leicestershire were also targeted.

The attacks happened between February 2013 and December 2013 at banks and convenience stores and its thought around £500,000 was stolen in total.

A tracker device placed in one of the targeted cash machines in Warrington helped investigators to find the offenders following the raids.

Maria Corr, Senior Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service Mersey-Cheshire, has worked on the case throughout the investigation and charged all of the defendants.

This involved working closely with West Mercia and Merseyside Police Forces.

She said: "This has been a complex and painstaking investigation and we would like to thank the police for their work in helping us bring these men to justice.

"The cash machines were often in residential areas and these men blew them up without a thought for the safety of the local community or the inconvenience caused to people who needed to get cash.

"This was an organised gang who thought of nothing but their own criminal greed. Their conviction should send a message out that people who get involved in this sort of activity will be caught."