BY TOBY PORTER
Crime levels dropped by a quarter after a gang of cash machine thieves were arrested.
A gang of six men and one woman, from Woolwich and east London, who carted away a series of money dispensers and stole expensive cars, were on Friday jailed for nearly 50 years at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
The gang used a stolen Land Rover to drive through the front of Wilkinson’s, in Woolwich, on September 24, 2017. The machine was dragged out of the shop with a rope and the cash emptied out of the machine.
The Land Rover was left burnt out in Shrewsbury Park, Woolwich. Then they did the same to a Co-op in Eynsham Drive, Thamesmead, stealing more than £56,000.
A stolen Dodge RAM van was used to ram Londis in Welling Road, Dartford on June 10, 2018 – but they could not budge the cash machine.
Three people in balaclavas attached a rope but could not shift the ATM. The gang also burgled homes and businesses and stole cars across South-east London.
Police raided lock-ups, allotments and safe houses on December 12, 2018. Six members of the gang were arrested and 12 stolen vehicles were seized. Other items had been taken from family homes less than 24 hours earlier.
Police said crime fell by 25 per cent in the weeks which followed.
DC David Crewe, from the Flying Squad, said: “None of the defendants have shown any remorse for their actions.
“They were intent on committing well-planned criminality, which has had a significant impact on their victims and the wider communities of South-east London.
“The resultant reduction in crime in the weeks after the arrests demonstrates how prolific the crime group was.
“None of the stolen cash has been recovered, which in turn has had a major impact on the cash machine companies and the associated stores that house the machines.
I am pleased with the sentences passed and hope this gives some closure to the victims.”
Carl Fletcher, 30, of Beveridge Court, Saunders Way, Thamesmead was sentenced to a total of 15 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to burgle non-residential premises, conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to commit residential burglaries, conspiracy to steal motor vehicles, six handling stolen goods offences, three car thefts and two burglaries Mantas.
Antulis, 26, of Rose Glen, Romford was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle non-residential premises, conspiracy to steal, twice driving while disqualified, two burglaries and two instances of handling stolen goods.
Steven Akers, 27, of The Oaks, Woolwich, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle non-residential premises – targeting ATM machines and production of cannabis.
He was sentenced to five-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. Nicky McKenzie, 38, of Bostall Hill, Abbey Wood, got seven years and four months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to burgle non-residential premises, handling stolen goods, stealing a car and burglary.
Sam Hawkins, 31, of Willow Lane, Woolwich, was sentenced to nine years and four months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit residential burglaries, conspiracy to steal motor vehicles, four burglaries and four frauds of misrepresentations.
A further five counts – three burglaries, one fraud by false representation and criminal damage – were taken into consideration when the Judge considered his sentence.
Stacey Bass, 31, of Willow Lane, Woolwich pleaded guilty to 10 vehicle thefts and was sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment.
Robbie Bennett, 20, of Gannet Lane, Wellingborough, near Northampton, pleaded guilty to vehicle theft and to twice handling stolen goods and was sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment.