Video: Gang jailed for more than 20 years for string of ram raids in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire
- Credit: Eastern Region Special Operations Unit
Five men who stole more than £400,000 following a string of cash machine ram raids and burglaries in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire have been jailed for a total of 22 years.
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 Leonard 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.
Today they appeared before Judge Mark Lucraft at Cambridge Crown Court to be sentenced after previously admitting their parts in the regional crime spree.
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Upton, Alfred, John Leonard Smith and Albert Smith were each jailed for four years and nine months, Alfred Stanley Smith was sentenced to four years and John Christopher Smith was jailed for three-and-a-half years.
They were caught following a lengthy investigation launched in August 2012 by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) - a collaborative organisation which tackles serious and organised criminals that operate throughout the eastern region.
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By September 2012 a covert surveillance operation was underway and teams from ERSOU followed members of this organised crime group.
The group would target homes in order to steal vehicles for use in the ATM offences.
They would disguise the vehicles by obtaining false number plates and then effectively hide them in plain sight for later use.
On October 16 2012 a 'trap' Ford Ranger was stolen from a car park in Cambridge.
This vehicle was transported back to the area of Potton traveller site near to the address of Albert Smith and then later taken to a traveller site in Cambridgeshire where Joseph Upton lived.
The same day, the group was responsible for disguising a stolen Audi which was then moved from St Neots to Upwell and was subsequently used during a violent robbery at an isolated farmhouse in Bedfordshire five days later.
Four of the gang, all except for John Christopher Smith, were each jailed for 10 years for that offence.
ERSOU then continued building a case against the five for their roles in the ATM burglaries.
Upton, 43, of Murrow Lane, Parsons Drove, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, John Leonard Smith, 39, of Small Lode, in Upwell, Cambridgeshire; Albert
Smith, 38, of Common Road, in Potton, Bedfordshire; Alfred Stanley, 37, of Sandon Close, in Sandy, Bedfordshire, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy burgle and conspiracy to steal motor vehicles between January and October 2012 at Cambridge Crown Court at the end of last month.
John Christopher Smith, 23, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle.
T/Detective Superintendent Neil Ballard said: 'ERSOU will continue to target organised criminals operating in the region.
'This case shows that we will catch them and ensure they are convicted, hence reducing the threat from organised crime to the communities of the eastern region.'
T/Detective Sergeant Stuart Dolan said: 'I am really pleased with the sentences given to this group of individuals. Since their arrest in October 2012 it is clear that the number of organised ATM attacks during the eastern region has dropped dramatically.'