VIDEO: Five men - including one from Parson Drove and another from Upwell- convicted of £400,000 raids on ATMs across four counties
- Credit: Archant
Five men – including one from Parson Drove and another from Upwell- have been convicted of a string of ATM ram raids and burglaries in which more than £400,000 was stolen and £250,000 of damage caused.
Joseph Upton, John Smith, Albert Smith, John Christopher Smith and Alfred Stanley carried out smash and grab raids at 12 banks across and six burglaries in a nine-month crime spree.
They used JCB vehicles to smash into businesses before ripping out cash machines, used cutting equipment to help themselves to more cash and escaped in vehicles they had plundered in burglaries across the region.
In total, they got away with £301,560 from cash machines and stole cars and jewellery worth more than £100,000. The offences took place across Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.
Four of the gang (all except for John Christopher Smith) had each been jailed in 2013 for a violent robbery at an isolated farmhouse in Bedfordshire during October 2012.
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The Eastern Region Serious Operations Unit had brought the four to justice for that incident and, after they were convicted, began investigating the four for further offences.
Upton, 43, of Murrow Lane, Parsons Drove, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, John Smith, 39, of Small Lode, in Upwell, Cambridgeshire; Albert Smith, 38, of Common Road, in Potton, Bedfordshire; Alfred Stanley, 37, of Sandon Close, in Sandy, Bedfordshire, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy burgle and conspiracy to steal motor vehicles between January and October 2012.
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John Christopher Smith, 23, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle.
They will be sentenced at a later date.
Detective Sergeant Stuart Dolan said: “This was an organised gang who targeted homes in order to steal vehicles to ultimately use as getaway vehicles after smashing into shops and banks to steal ATMs.
“They caused misery for the burglary victims as well as causing a huge amount of damage to shops and banks across the region.
“The number of such offences has reduced dramatically since the arrest of these offenders and we’re pleased they have now been brought to justice.
“This case shows we will relentlessly pursue those we suspect of being involved in organised crime and continue to put them before the courts.”
In 2013 Luton Crown Court had heard how four men – John Smith, Albert Smith, Alfred Stanley and Joseph Upton- had been involved in a threat to kill two elderly brothers.
They attacked and terrorised both brothers who had raised £113,000 following an auction of farm machinery.
A police spokesman described all four as “some of the most dangerous criminals in the region.
“Their imprisonment must come as great reassurance to the victims and public at large.”
Joseph Upton of Murrow Lane, Parsons Drove, and
John Leonard William Smith of Primrose Farm, Small Lode, Upwell, were each sentenced to 13 years and six months.
A court had been told of a high speed chase from Bedfordshire into Cambridgeshire and of the robbers’ stolen Audi 6 crashing in the village of Over.
Earlier the Audi had stopped in Fen Drayton where six guns, ammunition and a walking stick – all stolen in the robbery- were dumped.
During the attack one of the brothers was struck on the head with a scaffold pole and apart from the guns and ammunition they also stole £1,000 in old bank notes.
Passing sentence Judge Stuart Bridge said the men had carried out a “pre-meditated, cynical, violent and cowardly robbery”.
He said they had terrified their victims, both of whom had suffered psychological trauma.
Albert Smith of Potton Travellers Site, Beds and Alfred Stanley of Sandy, received similar sentences.