A gang of men that used explosions to destroy cash machines in a series of daring heists around the country has been jailed for a total of 92 years.
The seven-man squad blew up cash machines across the UK, including four in Scotland, stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds.
They have been handed jail sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment following their year-long crime spree that saw 13 banks and shops targeted, with some ATMs blown up using “powerful explosives” and others being dragged away by stolen cars and attacked with high-powered tools to access the cash.
The group stole more than £550,000 and caused more than £160,000 worth of damage in the attacks, Merseyside Police said.
The gang’s technique for blowing up the ATMs involved running oxy-acetylene canisters directly into the cash machine and igniting the gas with a spark from a car battery.
They stole a £56,000 Audi RS4 from a house in Garthdee, Aberdeen, in May 2015.
A month later they took £51,000 from a cash machine at a Tesco Express in Newtonhill, Aberdeenshire.
The Kingswells Co-op raid in August resulted in £16,000 and in January 2016 the gang stole £27,000 from a Co-op in Perth.
But it was after the overnight raid on the cash machine at the Co-op in Kingswells, on the outskirts of Aberdeen that police made a major breakthrough.
CCTV from a nearby industrial estate picked up a rendezvous between a lorry and high-performance car as the gang headed back to England.
Other attacks happened in Merseyside, Cheshire, Berkshire, Gloucestershire and Suffolk in England before what proved to be their last raid at a Co-op in Carnoustie, Angus, last February, when the gang sawed through the roller-shutter doors then dragged the ATM out using a Land Rover defender and straps, escaping with £16,000.
The gang’s getaways have been compared to blockbuster movies such as Fast and Furious and the Italian Job after they made off at high-speed in stolen performance cars which were then hidden in a stolen lorry that doubled as a hangout for the criminals to lie low as it had been fitted with hammocks the men used to rest.
The rig was also fitted with large fuel canisters to cut down on petrol station visits.
The trailer had also been fitted with ramps so vehicles could be quickly loaded on to it after an offence, police said.
Police also recovered petrol-powered grinders, gas cylinders, cloned plates, tools and electrical tape.
The men were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday:
Andrew White, 28, of Exeter Street, St Helens, was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment with a further two years on licence. White pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and was found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions.
Anthony White, 26, of Kingswood, Huyton, was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to cause explosions.
Nanu Miah, 28, of Sparkbrook, Birmingham, was sentenced to life imprisonment. He will be only eligible to apply for parole after a minimum of nine years. Miah pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and was found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions.
Anthony Conroy, 29, of Wavertree Vale, Wavertree, was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. Conroy pleaded guilty to both offences.
Carl Cavanagh, 33, of Barford, Huyton, was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment. Cavanagh pleaded guilty to both offences.
Michael Galea, 41, of Gregson Road, Prescot, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. Galea was found guilty of both offences.
Gary Carey, 40, of Burford Road, Liverpool, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment to commence at the completion of his current sentence. Carey was found guilty of conspiracy to cause an explosion.
The group were caught following a 12-month police investigation conducted by Titan, the north-west regional organised crime unit.
Head of Titan, Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Green, said: “These seven individuals believed they were untouchable and they used dangerous tactics in targeting ATMS which clearly put members of the public at risk.
“The techniques used by the men involved in these attacks were extremely risky and we are fortunate that no-one was hurt.
“The sentencing today is a clear message to those offenders who believe that they can avoid detection by committing crimes in different forces – we are relentless in our pursuit of criminals involved in serious organised crime and there are no borders.”