Essex

Cash machine raids gang jailed

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Media captionFootage supplied by Essex Police shows the gang target a branch of Aldi

Members of a ram-raid gang which threw fire extinguishers at pursuing police cars during a high-speed chase have been jailed.

The eight men, several of whom are from the same family, stole £165,000 in a string of smash-and-grab ATM raids.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard the group stole vehicles with a combined value of about £400,000 to use as getaway cars.

Seven of the men admitted conspiracy to commit commercial burglary, while the eighth was convicted after a trial.

Prosecutor Joe Bird told the court the group was "prepared to go to any lengths" to steal cash.

During one attempted raid, the gang drove at 100mph (160kmh) through the Dartford Tunnel while throwing fire extinguishers at a police officer to deter pursuit, Mr Bird said.

In the 12 months leading up to this March, the group raided cash machines across the south of England, causing £150,000 in damage.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption William Mitchell, Levi Mitchell, Walter Mitchell Senior, Walter Mitchell Junior, Shane Stanley, Ross Whitford, Jack Mitchell, and Sid Clark (clockwise left to right) were jailed over thefts of cash machines

Shane Stanley, 37, and Walter Mitchell Senior, 42, both of Fern Hill Lane, played a leading role, the court heard.

Both admitted conspiracy to handle stolen goods and commit commercial burglary, and were jailed for nine years.

The others, each of whom pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit commercial burglary, were:

  • Jack Mitchell, 20, of no fixed address, was jailed for seven years
  • William Mitchell, 30, of Fern Hill Lane, was jailed for seven years
  • Levi Mitchell, 35, of Fern Hill Lane, was jailed for seven years
  • Sid Clark, 32, of Broadfield, Harlow, was jailed for four years
  • Ross Whitford, 24, of Ryecroft, Harlow, was jailed for four years.

Walter Mitchell Junior, 21, of Potterfields, denied the charge but was found guilty after a trial. He was jailed for eight years.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption The men were arrested in a series of raids in March

Scott McManus, 44, of Chapelfields, Stanstead Abbotts, was found not guilty after a trial on 18 September.

Tommy Lee Mitchell, 19, of Fern Hill Lane, will be sentenced next week. He pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to steal a motor vehicle.

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