England

Gang jailed for £400K JCB ram-raid spree

HSBC in Reepham, Norfolk Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption About £90,000 was stolen from HSBC in Reepham, Norfolk

A gang which used JCB diggers in a series of ram-raids and stole over £400,000 has been jailed.

The five men targeted homes and businesses in a string of raids and burglaries across the East of England between January and October 2012.

Using the diggers, the men ripped cash machines from walls before making off in stolen cars.

They admitted the offences at Cambridge Crown Court and were handed sentences between three and five years.

Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Joseph Upton, John Leonard Smith, Albert Smith and Alfred Stanley all admitted two counts of conspiracy to burgle

Four of the men had been jailed in 2013 for a violent burglary at a Bedfordshire farmhouse, which led to police to investigate them in connection with the ram-raids.

In total, they stole £301,560 from cash machines, and stole cars and jewellery worth more than £100,000, Bedfordshire Police said.

Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption John Christopher Smith admitted one count of conspiracy to burgle

They also caused damage to buildings estimated to have cost £250,000 to repair.

Four of the men pleaded guilty to two counts each of conspiracy to burgle.

Joseph Upton, 43, of Murrow Lane, Parsons Drove, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, was jailed for five years, while Alfred Stanley, 37, of Sandon Close, Sandy, Bedfordshire, was jailed for four years.

Homes burgled

John Smith, 39, of Small Lode, Upwell, Cambridgeshire, and Albert Smith, 38, of Common Road, Potton, Bedfordshire, were both jailed for four years and nine months.

John Christopher Smith, of Werrington Bridge Road, Peterborough, admitted one charge of the same offence and was handed a three-and-a-half year sentence.

The gang launched raids on businesses across Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

They also burgled homes in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

Image caption The gang admitted a string of raids including one in Fulbourn in Cambridgeshire
Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption A raid at a Tesco store in Taverham, Norfolk, was unsuccessful, police said
Image copyright Barbara Stimpson
Image caption About £36,000 was taken from a cash machine at Barclays Bank in Long Sutton, Lincolnshire

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