Norfolk man jailed for part in raids to blow up cashpoints

Frederick Levi Squires

Frederick Levi Squires, who has been jailed after admitting is part in cashpoint raids - Credit: North Yorkshire Constabulary

A “professional” burglar who used explosives to blow up cash machines in a “military-style” operation has been jailed for more than eight years.

Frederick Levi Squires, 38, from Swaffham, was part of a gang who targeted ATMs at shops and petrol stations, York Crown Court heard.

In one of the raids, the masked gang blew open a hole big enough to allow them inside a petrol station and stole more than £30,000, said prosecutor Howard Shaw.

Three gang members appeared for sentence at York Crown Court on Thursday after admitting their part in the operation.

Squires, of Castleacre Road, Swaffham, appeared for via video link alongside a man from Doncaster, who cannot be named. Both admitted conspiracy to cause explosions, conspiring to burgle cash machines and aggravated vehicle-taking.

A teenager who cannot be named for legal reasons also appeared after being convicted of conspiring to cause explosions and burgle cash machines.

Mr Shaw said the cash-machine raids were “professionally-planned and executed with military-style precision”.

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The explosions were caused by pumping oxygen and gases into machines and lighting a fuse.

They launched their first attack at a post office near Loughborough, Leicestershire, in the early hours of March 4, but the explosives did not go off.

The gang later launched a second raid at a petrol station in Doncaster,  making off with £35,130. A few days later, they targeted a Co-op in Harrogate in the early hours but were unsuccessful.

In the early hours of March 10, they were spotted by police in a stolen Seat Leon. The masked driver sped off on the wrong side of the road. When officers found the abandoned car it was packed with explosives and tools. Police found the gang hiding in a hollowed-out tree.

John Bottomley, for Squires, said the father-of-five was in the grip of drug addiction at the time of the offences.

Judge Sean Morris told Squires: “This was well-planned, organised crime and it was conducted with military precision."

He told the defendants: “You put lives at risk which will not be tolerated.”

Squires was jailed for eight-and-a-half years and given a seven-year driving ban. The youth was given a two-year detention-and-training order.

The other adult's sentence was postponed.

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