The ram raid at the Tesco Express in Taverham. Picture: Eastern Region Special Operations Unit.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Five men have been convicted of a string of cash machine ram raids and burglaries in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire in which more than £400,000 was stolen and £250,000 of damage caused.
The ram raid at the HSBC in Reepham. Picture: Eastern Region Special Operations Unit.
The gang carried out smash and grab raids at 12 businesses, including Tesco Express in Taverham and the HSBC in Reepham, during a nine-month crime spree in 2012.
Joseph Upton, John Smith, Albert Smith, John Christopher Smith and Alfred Stanley used JCB vehicles to smash into businesses before ripping out cash machines, used cutting equipment to help themselves to more cash and escaped in vehicles they had stolen in burglaries across the region.
In total, they got away with £301,560 from cash machines and stole cars and jewellery worth more than £100,000.
Four of the gang, except for John Christopher Smith, had each been jailed for 10 years in 2013 for a violent robbery at an isolated farmhouse in Bedfordshire during October 2012.
And after they were convicted, the Eastern Region Serious Operations Unit – made up of police from several counties – began investigating the four for further offences.
Upton, 43, of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, John Smith, 39, of Upwell, Cambridgeshire; Albert Smith, 38, of Potton, Bedfordshire; Stanley, 37, of Sandy in Bedfordshire, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal motor vehicles between January and October 2012.
John Christopher Smith, 23, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle. They will be sentenced at a later date.
Detective Sergeant Stuart Dolan said: “This was an organised gang who targeted homes in order to steal vehicles to ultimately use as getaway vehicles after smashing into shops and banks to steal ATMs.
“They caused misery for the burglary victims as well as causing a huge amount of damage to shops and banks across the region.
“The number of such offences has reduced dramatically since the arrest of these offenders and we’re pleased they have now been brought to justice.
“This case shows we will relentlessly pursue those we suspect of being involved in organised crime and continue to put them before the courts.”
• Do you have a crime story? Call crime correspondent Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email firstname.lastname@example.org