A RETFORD man has been jailed for five years for his part in a series of cash machine thefts across the East Midlands.
John Ronald Charles, 38, of Welbeck Road, was one of four men who formed a highly sophisticated organised crime gang and robbed ATM machines from banks and shops.
The four men were sentenced in relation to a charge of conspiracy to burgle worth around £350,000 in cash and damage at Lincoln Crown Court.
The crime gang burgled houses and firms in Lincolnshire, Notts, Derbyshire and Norfolk.
Gary Michael Self, 47, of Coneygrey Spinney, Flintham, near Newark and Reuben Thomas Reynolds, 30, of College Close, Newark, were both jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Nathan Robert Steele, 31, of Carlton Road, Newark, was jailed for four-and-a-half years.
The gang was brought to justice after a lengthy investigation by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU).
They stole cars for transport to and from crime scenes and industrial or agricultural vehicles to rip the ATMs from the walls of the commercial buildings targeted. The gang would take the ATMs to remote rural locations and use oxyacetylene cutting equipment to break them open and access the cash.
The thefts were successful at the National Westminster Bank in Bingham, Notts, The Co-Op store in Kegworth, Leicestershire and the Co-Op in Asfordby, Leicestershire. The gang also attempted thefts at Retford, Shepshed in Leicestershire, Two Dales in Derbyshire and Long Bennington, near Newark. On all of these occasions they were disturbed by the police.
The gang’s crime spree was ended on the night of Sunday 27th February this year, when they were disturbed by a police patrol in Derbyshire as they were preparing to attack another ATM machine in the area.
Self tried to evade capture but was tracked down by a police helicopter and dog handler. Further EMSOU investigations led to the arrest of the other offenders.
Det Chief Insp Alan Mason, of Lincolnshire Police and EMSOU, said: “This sentencing sends out a powerful message to organised crime groups across the region and country. If you indulge in criminality in the East Midlands you will be swiftly arrested, investigated and put before the courts.”
“Our investigation demonstrates the benefits of collaborative crime fighting across the Midlands and it is important that the extensive hard work of officers originating from Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire is recognised.”
“We would urge anyone with any information on organised crime groups, whether they are involved in theft, fraud, drug distribution, or violence, to get in touch with ourselves, or to report it anonymously via independent charity, Crimestoppers, immediately.”