An organised crime gang, which included brothers from St Helens and a man from Prescot, has been jailed for blowing up cash machines across Britain and stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The seven men are now behind bars for a total of 92 years after using “dedicated, ruthless and sophisticated methods to steal vast quantities of money from banks across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom”.
Brothers Andrew and Anthony White, from St Helens, were convicted earlier this month after a four-month trial at Liverpool Crown Court, along with Michael Galea, from Prescot, and Nanu Miah and Gary Carey.
Carl Cavanagh and Anthony Conroy pleaded guilty before the trial.
They appeared before the court today to be sentenced, bringing to an end months of work by TITAN (the North West regional crime unit), Police Scotland and the Crown Prosecution Service.
Senior Crown prosecutor Maria Corr, of Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service’s complex casework unit, said: “These men were ruthless, organised criminals who conspired to cause explosions and burgle banks up and down the country.
“They thought nothing of using powerful explosives to blow up cash machines in residential areas, putting nearby residents in real danger. In fact, they targeted cash machines in quieter areas, because they thought it’d be less likely that they’d be detected.
“They stole high-performance fast cars to order to use as getaway cars and drove from the scene of their crimes at terrifying speeds, again at great risk to the public, to avoid arrest.
“They used cloned number plates to avoid detection, one stolen car was found hidden in the back of a lorry and transported to commit a crime in Scotland, again to avoid detection.
“They wore black and covered their faces with ski masks and balaclavas so they couldn’t be identified from CCTV at the scene of the crimes.
They thought nothing of using powerful explosives to blow up cash machines in residential areasSenior Crown prosecutor Maria Corr
“They used a huge number of mobile phones before, during and after the attacks, again to avoid detection.
“They were eventually tracked down by painstaking investigation involving detailed scrutiny of CCTV, DNA from items found in the abandoned getaway cars and interrogation of their mobile phones and satellite navigation tools, again found in the cars.
“These men, like most criminals, think they’re too clever to be caught. They’re wrong.
“They think they’ve thought of everything, but they haven’t. Criminals always eventually make mistakes and the police and the Crown Prosecution Service will catch up with them.
“Today’s sentences are a great result for the Crown Prosecution Service and for the forces of law and order in general.”
Andrew White, 28, of Exeter Street, St Helens, was jailed for 19 years, with a further two years on license. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and was found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions.
Anthony White, 26, of Kingswood, Huyton, was jailed for 16 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to cause explosions.
Michael Galea, 41, of Gregson Road, Prescot, was jailed for 15 years. He was found guilty of both offences.
Nanu Miah, 28, of Sparbrook, Birmingham, was sentenced to life imprisonment and will be only eligible to apply for parole after a minimum of nine years. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and was found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions.
Anthony Conroy, 29, of Wavertree Vale, Wavertree, was jailed for 12 years after he pleaded guilty to both offences.
Carl Cavanagh, 33, of Barford, Huyton, was jailed for 11 years after he pleaded guilty to both offences.
Gary Carey, 40, of Burford Road Liverpool, was jailed for 10 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to cause an explosion. The term will begin once he has completed a sentence already being served.
The judge also issued serious crime prevention orders on all seven men, to protect the public by preventing, restricting or disrupting involvement in serious crime.
An eighth man - Scott Pearson, 35, of Ena Crescent, Leigh - was found not guilty of conspiracy to burgle.
The ATM incidents took place between February 2015 and February 2016 at: Natwest, Sonnings Common; Barclays Bank, Alsager; Co-op, Culcheth; Barclays Bank, Hucclecote; Barclays Bank, Woodstock; Barclays Bank, Swindon; Tesco Express, Aberdeen; Co-op, Aberdeen; ATM Kiosk, Huyton; Co-op, Culcheth; Barclays Bank, Bury St Edmunds; Co-op, Perth; and Co-op, Carnoustie.