Five men jailed for blowing up cash machines


Five men who blew up cash machines and stole hundreds of thousands of pounds have been jailed.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the crimes were the first of their type in the UK, causing serious damage and posing a real risk to the public.

Judge Mark Brown sentenced Anthony Bushell, of Childers Street, Old Swan, to 17 years in prison and Thomas Whittingham, of Broughton Hall Road, West Derby to 18 years.

Craig Cartwright, of Vinecote Road, Coventry and Kurt Beddoes, of Hanford Avenue, Orrell Park, who were described as the masterminds behind the scheme, were jailed for 17 years.

Ian Ellis, 29, of Warrington Road, Rainhill was jailed for 13 years.

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 jailed 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 it's thought around £800,000 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.

Janet Potter, Head of the Complex Casework Unit for the Crown Prosecution Service, Mersey-Cheshire said: "These men were ruthless and organised criminals who travelled the Midlands and North West of the country to steal large quantities of cash from bank telling machines.

"The method they used to do that involved the use of explosives to blow the back off the machines so that they could access the cash once they had burgled the premises. They had no regard for the risk to the public that created. All they were concerned with was the amount of money they could steal. On one occasion, they stole a quarter of a million pounds in one night.

"The crimes involved a considerable level of planning and the use of highly specialised tools and equipment . The group went to great lengths to avoid detection.

"However, as a result of a tracking device placed by one of the banks into its cash machine and the painstaking diligence of both Merseyside and West Mercia Police Forces, the perpetrators were identified and evidence gathered which ultimately led to their conviction.

"This has been a lengthy and complex case. The Crown Prosecution Service Mersey Cheshire has worked alongside the investigation teams throughout  and made the decisions necessary  to prosecute the defendants with the serious offences for which they have now received these significant sentences."