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Two sentenced over string of ram raids across six counties

PUBLISHED: 13:57 08 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:53 09 November 2018

The One Stop in Feltwell after the raid Picture: Ian Burt

The One Stop in Feltwell after the raid Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Two men are behind bars after admitting a string of ram raids across the eastern region, stealing cash machines containing almost £300,000.

The damaged shop after it was attacked by the gang Picture: Ian BurtThe damaged shop after it was attacked by the gang Picture: Ian Burt

Tony Smith, 19, of Schole Road, Willingham, Cambridgeshire, and Charlie Oakley, 26, of George Street, Shefford, Bedfordshire, were sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court on Wednesday.

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 young offenders institution for his part in the series.

The duo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle in relation to a number of ram raids to steal cash machines. Their targets included the One Stop shop at Feltwell, in Norfolk, where they used a disc cutter to get into the shop before fleeing with thousands in a stolen Audi on Monday, April 16.

The following night, they struck again, hitting a Co-op in Isleham, Cambs. But officers from the crack officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) were waiting.

The inside of the store at Feltwell   Picture: Bedfordshire PoliceThe inside of the store at Feltwell Picture: Bedfordshire Police

In total there were eight ram raids across seven different counties, and a total of 24 offences.

Each ATM contained thousands of pounds of cash and the raids caused more than £250,000 of damage in total to the businesses. None of the cash has been recovered.

Det Insp Trevor Davidson, who led the investigation, 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.

Tony Smith. Picture: Bedfordshire PoliceTony Smith. Picture: Bedfordshire Police

“ERSOU is committed to tackling serious and organised criminals and we’re 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 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.

Saturday, March 3 – Co-Op, Church Street, Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire

Charlie Oakley. Picture: Bedfordshire PoliceCharlie Oakley. Picture: Bedfordshire Police

A Land Rover was used to ram the store and remove the ATM machine containing a significant amount of money.

Tuesday, March 20 – Co-Op, Main Road, Long Bennington, Lincolnshire

A stolen Daihatsu 4x4 is used to steal an ATM containing thousands of pounds.

Monday, April 2 – 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, April 2 – The Guineas Shopping Centre, Newmarket

An Audi and a stolen Land Rover were used to steal an ATM containing thousands of pounds.

Wednesday, April 4 – 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, April 6 – 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, April 16 - 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, April 17 – Co-Op, West Street, Isleham, Cambridgeshire

Offenders in the process of stealing an ATM are disturbed by police and are arrested.

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