Two prolific ram-raiders have been sentenced after stealing thousands in a spate of crimes across the East of England.
Tony Smith, 19, of Schole Road, Willingham, Cambridgeshire, and Charlie Oakley, 26, of George Street, Shefford, Bedfordshire, were sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court Wednesday (November 7).
The two men pleaded guilty of stealing cash machines containing almost £300,000 in a series of eight ram-raids at local supermarkets and shops across Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Suffolk and Norfolk.
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 for his part in the series which included three separate incidents in Cambridgeshire.
The duo, who committed the crimes between March and April, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle in relation to a number of ram-raids to steal cash machines across the region.
As part of the crime spree they also stole a number of vehicles such as Land Rovers and Audis, which were used to ram into the storefronts and as get-away cars.
Each ATM contained thousands of pounds of cash and the raids caused more than £250,000 of damage to the businesses.
Following the thefts none of the cash has been recovered.
How they were caught by police
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.
The incident took place on April 17 at the Co-Op in Mill Street, Isleham, at around 4.35am.
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 an 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 were 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 this month.
The ram-raid series
-Saturday 3 March – Co-Op, Church Street, Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire
A Land Rover was used to ram the store and remove the ATM machine containing a significant amount of money.
-Tuesday 20 March – Co-Op, Main Road, Long Bennington, Lincolnshire
A stolen Daihatsu 4×4 is used to steal an ATM containing thousands of pounds.
-Monday 2 April – Aldi, Bonds Lane, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire
A stolen Land Rover and an Audi were used in a bid to steal the ATM, on this occasion the attempt was unsuccessful.
-Monday 2 April – The Guineas Shopping Centre, Newmarket
An Audi and a stolen Land Rover were used to steal an ATM containing thousands of pounds.
-Wednesday 4 April – Premier Shop, Irthlingborough Road, Finedon, Northamptonshire
Offenders used a Land Rover to pull the shutters off the store before stealing an ATM containing a substantial amount of cash.
-Friday 6 April – 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.
-Monday 16 April, 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 containing thousands of pounds.
-Tuesday 17 April – Co-Op, West Street, Isleham, Cambridgeshire
Offenders in the process of stealing an ATM are disturbed by police and fee from the scene. Lee, Oakley and Smith are subsequently arrested.