Gang that blew up ATMs face jail terms

A burglar faces jail for being part of a gang that used explosives to break into cash machines
A burglar faces jail for being part of a gang that used explosives to break into cash machines
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A St Helens burglar faces jail for being part of a gang that used explosives to break into cash machines, including one in Prescot.

Ian Ellis of Warrington Road, Rainhill, was found guilty last week of burglary and conspiracy to cause an explosion along with four other men at Liverpool Crown Court.

A combination of banks, post offices and supermarkets were targeted across the North of England including locations in Liverpool, Southport, Wirral, Lancashire and Birmingham.

Det Ch Insp Gayle Rooney from the Matrix Serious Organised Crime Team said: “This is a culmination of a year long investigation into crimes involving thefts from cash point machines.

“These five men thought they were untouchable and they used hazardous tactics in targeting ATMs, clearly endangering members of the public.

“The techniques used by the men involved in these attacks were extremely dangerous and we are fortunate that no-one was hurt.

“These men were driven by greed and a need to fund lavish lifestyles, expensive cars, holidays and large houses. “They didn’t think about the danger of what they were doing and the potential that they could cause serious and significant injuries to others through their reckless actions.”

The burglaries resulted in losses to the targeted businesses of £1.5m and damage to property at a cost of £200,000, the police said.

On September 9 2013, the gang targeted a cash machine on Eccleston Street in Prescot.

A further three men connected with the incidents had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Det Ch Insp Rooney added: “These convictions send out a strong message to those who commit these types of crime. “Merseyside Police is, and will always be, relentless in its targeting of criminals involved in serious and organised crime and for us there are no boundaries.”

The four defendants alongside Ellis were Thomas Whittingham, 28, of Broughton Hall Road, West Derby, Anthony Bushell, 29, of Childers Street, Old Swan, Craig Cartwright, 39, of Vinecote Road, Coventry and Kurt Beddoes, 31, of Hanford Avenue, Orrell Park.

The group will be sentenced on September 5.

Maria Corr, Senior Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service Mersey-Cheshire said: “This has been a complex and painstaking investigation and we would like to thank the police for their work in helping us bring these men to justice.

“The cash machines were often in residential areas and these men blew them up without a thought for the safety of the local community or the inconvenience caused to people who needed to get cash.

“This was an organised gang who thought of nothing but their own criminal greed. Their conviction should send a message out that people who get involved in this sort of activity will be caught.”