Bomb squad gang hit with 82 years in jail

Ian Ellis, 29, of Warrington Road, Rainhill, was jailed for his part in a string of raids on ATM machines across the country
Ian Ellis, 29, of Warrington Road, Rainhill, was jailed for his part in a string of raids on ATM machines across the country

CCTV footage has revealed the moment a gang, including Rainhill man Ian Ellis, detonated explosives during a daring raid on a bank’s cash machine.

Ellis is today beginning a 13 year jail term after he was convicted of a string of raids using tactics which detectives believe are a first for British criminals.

The gang - masterminded by career criminals Craig Cartwright of Coventry and Kurt Beddoes of Orrell - targeted banks throughout the north west and Midlands, including one in Prescot.

After plotting each raid in painstaking detail, they blew up cash machines using gas before stealing its contents and escaping in high-powered Audis.

Among the tools they employed, the gang used stolen number plate, angle grinders and gas cutting torches.

Following the gang’s jail terms, police released CCTV of them in action.

Janet Potter, head of the Complex Casework Unit for the Crown Prosecution Service in 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.

“The crimes involved a considerable level of planning and the use of highly specialised tools and equipment.”

Judge Mark Brown sentenced the gang to a total of 82 years. Cartwright, of Coventry, and Beddoes of Orrell Park, and Anthony Bushell of Old Swan, were caged for 17 years, while Thomas Whittingham of West Derby received a 18 year jail term.

Ellis, 29, of Warrington Road, received the shortest term but won’t to be eligible for parole until at least 2021.

Police finally snared the gang after a tracking device in on ATM helped locate the gang.

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 its 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.