A organised gang stole thousands of pounds and left a trail of destruction across the UK after breaking into shops and cash machines.
Four men managed to escape with more than £50,000 during the ATM attacks in Warrington , Wakefield and Telford before being snared by a huge police investigation.
Mark Edwards, 47, Sean Devereux, 30, Peter O’Neill, 41, and Liam Doherty, 39, all appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday, February 27 where they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary with intent to steal.
The gang were finally caught after hitting a cash machine on October 3, 2019, at Nisa Local on Glover Road in Warrington.
During the incident thieves broke into the Locking Stumps store via the roof.
Once inside they used an angle grinder to force open the ATM machine and stole almost £50,000.
Following the attack an investigation was launched by detectives at Warrington Beat Initiative Team , led by Detective Constable Ian Morris.
Over the following weeks the team spoke to various witnesses, examined hundreds of hours of CCTV footage and conducted forensic enquiries.
As a result the team gathered evidence linking Devereux, Doherty, Edwards and O’Neill to the incident.
In addition they also found evidence linking the men to two other ATM attacks in Wakefield and Telford.
The incident in Wakefield took place at around 9pn on Tuesday 12 November at Premier Store in Havercroft. Once again, the group broke into the store via the roof and used and used an angle grinder to force open the ATM machine – stealing more than £5,000.
Just over a week later, on Thursday 21 November, the group targeted the One Stop Shop on Wellington Road in Telford.
On this occasion they forced entry via the roof and, after unsuccessfully attempting to open the cash machine, stole more than £14,000 worth of cigarettes.
After gathering all of the evidence against the men, officers from Cheshire Constabulary conducted raids at their Merseyside homes and arrested the men on Wednesday 11 December.
During the warrants officers conducted detailed searches of their addresses and recovered a number of items, including angle grinders, mobile phones, high value clothing, watches and more than £14,000 cash.
Following the sentencing Detective Constable Ian Morris, of Warrington Beat Initiative Team said: “This criminal enterprise went to great lengths to plan and coordinate attacks on cash machines with the intent of gaining significant amounts of cash.
“The men conducted a number of recces prior to conducting their attacks and travelled great distances in a failed attempt to evade justice.
“The businesses they targeted were recognised as providing important services to our local communities and the devastation of these incidents should not be underestimated.
“Not only did they cause thousands of pounds worth of damage, but they also had a profound impact on other businesses and residents within the local area.”
Detective Sergeant Ian Bingley added: “I commend the diligence of DC Morris and PC Howard in pursuing all lines of enquiry to identify them as suspects.
“All four defendants refused to engage with officers during the investigation and denied any involvement. It was down to the tenacity of the investigators from Warrington Beat Initiative Team who secured the evidence to prove beyond doubt their involvement and build the case which led to the guilty pleas.
“Today’s sentences show no matter how many crimes you commit in different areas you cannot avoid being caught – we will relentlessly pursue you until you are captured.
“We are determined to disrupt all levels of serious organised crime within our communities and keep people safe.”
Edwards, of Helston Green, Huyton, was jailed for five years; Devereux, of Quarry Green, Northwood and O’Neill, of Murcote Road, Liverpool, were both sentenced to four years and six months in prison and Doherty, of Hansby Drive, Liverpool was sentenced to three years and nine months behind bars.