Glasgow & West Scotland

George Nicol and David Fowler jailed over failed ATM ram-raid

Two men who drove a stolen sewage tanker into a call centre in South Lanarkshire during a botched ram-raid robbery at an ATM have been jailed.

George Nicol, 37, and David Fowler, 27, stole the tanker in East Kilbride before attempting to smash the HSBC ATM in Blantyre on 20 October 2012.

They were arrested after crashing their getaway car, which contained a sawn-off shotgun and ammunition.

Nicol was jailed for five-and-a-half years. Fowler was given five years.

The pair, who are both prisoners of HMP Addiewell in West Lothian, pleaded guilty last month to theft, robbery and firearms charges.

Jailing them at the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Glennie said: "You have both pleaded guilty to a bizarre attempt to rob money from a cash machine.

'Incompetent' crime

"The only saving grace in this case is that the crime was carried out in such an incompetent fashion.

"Offences of this nature require the imposition of significant periods of custody. You will both go to prison."

An earlier hearing at the High Court in Glasgow heard how the pair stole the tanker from DPG Plus in East Kilbride at about 11:54 on 19 October.

CCTV footage was shown in court of the lorry being driven into offices of HSBC in Blantyre the following night.

After the ram-raid failed, the pair took turns to hit the ATM with a sledgehammer before giving up and fleeing the scene in a Skoda Octavia which had false registration plates.

The car later crashed in Blantyre as it was chased by police. Officers arrested the pair after a short pursuit on foot.

Criminal damage

During a search of the Octavia police found five shotgun cartridges, a sawn-off shotgun, a quantity of tools, knives and a pair of number plates.

The court also heard that HSBC had to spend £197,298 to repair the damage caused in the raid.

The owners of the sewage truck lost between £40,000 and £60,000 in business because of the theft.

It is estimated that it will cost £50,000 to replace the vehicle.

Prior to sentencing, solicitors acting for both men had told the court that they turned to crime after falling into financial difficulties.

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