England

Manchester cashpoint and safe raid gang jailed

Nathan Green; David Murphy; Michael Rowlinson and David Bennett Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption The gang travelled extensively to target a string of cashpoints and safes during their 18-month spree

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.

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption The burglars used power tools to break into cashpoint machines

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.

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption The gang targeted bus depots and wore balaclavas and hats

They were eventually caught as part of Operation Eagle during a botched attempted burglary in Whickham, near Gateshead.

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption The gang was caught on camera during their raids but always hid their faces

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."

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