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Gang jailed for blowing up ATMs in Hampshire

THE ‘ringleader’ of an organized crime gang who used explosives to try to rob 14 ATMs in Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey has been sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Five Hampshire men took part in a wide range of ‘well organized and orchestrated’ criminal activity, including burglaries and car thefts, over a nine-month period, as well as ATM incidents, at a cost of approximately £1.2 million in total loss and damage.

On one occasion, they also stole a one-year-old French bulldog – which luckily was returned to its owners.

Between April 2019 and January 2020, they used crowbars, oxyacetylene gas and petrol to blow up ATMs and steal tens of thousands of pounds in cash.

Left to right, David Patrick Hughes. Top row: Colin Golding and Cameron Chivers. Bottom row: Adam Jones and Jesse Matthews

Not all members of the group were involved in all the attacks, and only three of the 14 attempts were successful, totaling over £61,000 stolen.

David ‘Paddy’ Hughes of Street End Close, Rotherwick, was the ‘main figure’ of the group responsible for £250,000 in damages, £99,500 in vehicle theft and £146,000 in domestic and commercial burglaries.

The 31-year-old admitted to plotting to rob, plotting to burglary and conspiring to cause explosions in October last year.

During his sentencing at Winchester Crown Court this week, the 31-year-old attended via video link, while his co-defendants – Adam Jones, 31, of Fareham; Colin Golding, 26, from Farnborough; Cameron Chivers, 24, from Southampton; and Jesse Matthews, 21, of Bordon appeared in person.

Opening the hearing on Monday, prosecutor Mark Ruffell said Hughes and Jones were “prolific” criminals who met in prison and were at the forefront of attacks.

Basingstoke Gazette: Cash machine lit up at the Premier Store, BrockenhurstCash machine lit up at the Premier Store, Brockenhurst

They carried out the attacks while on a prison license, recruiting the others.

Mr Ruffell said: “What sets the offenders apart in this case is that the ATM attacks were like big waves in a sea of ​​crime and were treated like another day at work by those involved. ”

The court heard how all the incidents took place “in the dead of night” and on more than one occasion the occupants of the targeted property slept inside.

The gang planned ATM attacks meticulously, stealing cars before a job to use as escape vehicles with any potential loot.

During the attacks on the ATMs, they broke the machine, before pumping gas into it using a hose and then lighting it in the hope of causing a violent explosion to access the money contained in it. inside.

In the majority of cases, the men fled the scene empty-handed. However, the fires caused thousands of pounds of damage.

READ MORE: Five men charged after 14 ATMs in Hampshire, Dorset and Surrey were hit with explosives

And in one of the attacks, at a Tesco Express in Bishopstoke, when the ATM failed to explode, a stolen Land Rover Defender was unsuccessfully rammed into the ATM in an attempt to gain access, causing damage structural to the building in the process.

Following a series of dawn raids at addresses across the county, involving 150 officers, the men were arrested and charged for their involvement in the burglaries and explosions.

Sentencing the men today (Friday), Her Honor Justice Angela Morris described the attacks as ‘well organized and orchestrated’ and ‘motivated by unabashed greed with no regard for other innocent parties’.

Basingstoke Gazette:

She added that the lack of success in 11 of their attempts was “a hard-to-convince mitigation”, adding: “In all 14 cases, you did not fail to cause the explosions – those certainly happened. The only failure is that your concrete efforts didn’t cause distributors to give up on their content, it’s not for lack of trying.

She continued, “None of you thought for a moment about the dangers you placed on these innocent and unsuspecting residents, or the trauma they would undoubtedly suffer.”

The judge sentenced Hughes to 17 years in prison. Jones received 13½ years, Golding nine years, Chivers eight years and four months and Matthews six years and eight months.

In total, the group was sentenced to 54 and a half years in prison.

Hughes, Jones and Golding will also be subject to serious crime prevention orders, the details of which will be decided at a later date.

READ MORE: Paddy Hughes ‘blew up ATMs’ in Hampshire, Dorset and Surrey

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Steve Court said: “These five men thought neither of the residents of the homes they were robbing nor of the danger they were putting people in by blowing up ATMs.

“Their only thought was to feed their own greed, whatever the cost, both monetary and emotional, to the hard-working business owners whose properties they damaged, to the residents of the addresses they burglarized and for the family who thought they had lost their beloved pet.

“As an investigative team, we have spent many hours tracking down the gang and making sure we can prove their involvement.

“They thought they were above the law, that they could steal with impunity, but let this serve as a warning. We will catch you.”

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