Manchester cashpoint and safe raid gang jailed
A criminal gang who cut through walls to steal safes and cash machines have been jailed.
The four men from the Manchester area targeted banks, shops and bus depots across the country.
During an 18-month spree they stole £160,000 across 14 police force areas, including a bank in West Sussex and a bus depot in Cannock, Staffordshire, Newcastle Crown Court was told.
The men, aged between 25 and 37, admitted conspiracy to commit burglary.
Michael Rowlinson, 25, of no fixed abode, was jailed for four years and 10 months, while Nathan Green, 32, of Sale Road, Wythenshawe, was jailed for five years and nine months, David Bennett, 37, of Arbor Avenue, Burnage, for five years and seven months and David Murphy, 29, of Craven Road, Broadheath, for five years and four months.
The court heard how they targeted 21 cashpoints and bus depots across the country.
They used angle grinder drills to cut through metal and would then wait outside buildings to see if they had triggered alarms.
If no-one came, they would go back inside and steal cash, the hearing heard.
They also wore masks to avoid being recognised on CCTV, the court heard.
They were eventually caught as part of Operation Eagle during a botched attempted burglary in Whickham, near Gateshead.
Det Supt Alan Veitch, head of the North East Regional Specialist Operations Unit (NERSOU), said: "The sentences applied accurately reflect the level of criminality and should serve to be a lesson to those who seek to travel and commit crime within the North East."