Six charged after causing explosions at cash points
Six men have been charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and cause explosions after multiple attempts made nationwide.
A total of 16 burglaries, 14 attempted burglaries and three vehicles thefts (subsequently used in the attacks) took place in just over a 32 week period. The offences happened in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Manchester, Merseyside, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, West Midlands and Warwickshire. With a total amount stolen coming to approximately £1,000,000 not including the hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.
A complex combined investigation took place, which involved a specialist Matrix team at Merseyside, West Mercia’s Serious Organised Crime Unit, West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit and the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (Titan) which resulted in the identification of these six offenders. Five warrants were executed at linked addresses in Coventry, Huyton and Merseyside and a further search took place at Newton-le-Willows.
The gang was brought to a stop after a bug was planted in a cash cassette which was subsequently stolen and traced to their hideout in Sandy Meadow, Huyton.
Police uncovered a “quartermaster’s store” of criminal equipment at a lock up in Elm Street, Huyton, which contained burglars’ kits of black clothing and masks, a stolen and re-sprayed Audi, printers for false licence plates and axes, crowbars and gas cylinders.
A month long trial took place at Liverpool Crown Court which resulted in Anthony Bushell, 29, and Thomas Whittingham, 28, being found guilty by a jury’s unanimous verdict of conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to cause explosions.
Craig Cartwright, 40, Kurt Beddoes, 31 and Ian Ellis, 30 pleaded guilty at an earlier stage, while Gary Keating, 30, will face a retrial after jurors were unable to reach a verdict on him despite more than 19 hours of deliberation.
Detective Chief Superintendent Daryn Elton from the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit said: "We work closely with the National Crime Agency and wider law enforcement agencies to target criminals, disrupt their activities and bring them to justice.
“The West Midlands ROCU is the national lead for ATM crime and this operation is a great example of joint working between West Midlands and North West forces.”
Merseyside’s Detective Superintendent Chris Greed adds “The public are our eyes and ears when crimes like these occur and I would ask that if anyone sees anyone acting suspiciously near a bank or ATM we would urge them to contact the police, as their information could be vital in bringing offenders to justice.”